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BEIJING, June 28 (Reuters) - The sales of China's universal life insurance products dropped a hefty 59 percent year-on-year during the first five months of the year, official data shows, as the country's insurance regulator cracks down on aggressive insurers in the market.
Life insurance companies generated 308.4 billion yuan ($45.36 billion) from products related to so-called universal life in the Jan-May period, according to statistics released on Wednesday on the website of the China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC).
The decline comes as CIRC intensifies its widespread regulatory crackdown on the excessive use of universal life products. A handful of insurance firms, which have issued higher-yielding products to raise funds to acquire stakes in market-listed companies, have been punished.
Anbang Life, a key part of Anbang Insurance Group Co , one of China's most acquisitive firms overseas, was barred in May from applying to issue new products for three months.
Its chairman, Wu Xiaohui, was subsequently detained.
Last December, CIRC suspended Foresea Life, a unit of financial conglomerate Baoneng Group, from selling universal life insurance products until it addressed problems in how it managed customer accounts and information.
The risk associated with the sale of universal life policies will represent one of the key considerations in the assessment of China's life insurance industry. ($1 = 6.7986 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting By Shu Zhang and Matthew Miller, editing by Louise Heavens)