(Adds details, comments)
BEIJING Feb 14 China's insurance industry
premium income is expected to grow at a slower pace in 2017 due
to tighter regulations, the country's top insurance regulator
said on Tuesday.
Total premium income in 2016 rose 27.5 percent from a year
earlier to 3.1 trillion yuan ($450.16 billion), marking the
fastest pace of growth since 2008, Duan Haizhou, an official
with the China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC), said at a
press conference in Beijing.
Total insurance industry assets stood at 15.12 trillion yuan
at the end of 2016, representing a 22.3 percent increase from
the start of the year.
The sector's rapid growth is likely to slow down this year
as CIRC will impose tighter regulations for financial
deleveraging and risk prevention, Duan said.
Authorities have rolled out a series of measures in recent
weeks aimed at limiting risks in the industry, preventing
asset-liabilities mismatches and speculative acquisitions.
The measures include the tightening of control over short-
and mid-term life insurance products, the curbing of risks
associated with property insurance products and the stepping up
of compliance management for insurers.
In January, CIRC reimposed ceilings on funds that insurers
can invest in the stock market, restricting equity investments
to no more than 30 percent of total assets, while limiting
investment in a single stock to no more than 5 percent of their
The insurance industry's investment income from the stock
market and the fixed income market last year fell by 200 billion
yuan from 2015 due to increased volatility, CIRC's Duan said.
Insurers' investment income yield was at 5.66 percent last
year, Duan added. That compared with an average investment
income yield of 7.56 percent in 2015.
The insurance industry's profit dropped by about 30 percent
year on year to "close to" 200 billion yuan due to a low
interest rate environment and capital market volatility, he
Duan didn't disclose the exact amount of the industry's
investment income or profit.
($1 = 6.8864 Chinese yuan)
(Reporting by Shu Zhang and Matthew Miller. Writing by Stella
Qiu; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)