China set to open doors to reinsurers

Essay by brooklynhui888University, Bachelor's February 2005

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China Re about to lose monopoly status as government moves to grant licenses to Munich Re and Swiss Re with others lined up to enter this huge market

Entry into the Chinese reinsurance market has not been easy, given the dominance of the Beijing-based China Reinsurance Company, which is the only reinsurer directly controlled by the State Council, hence a government monopoly.

But China Re is about to lose its monopoly status, with the government's recent move to grant licenses to Munich Re and Swiss Re, while other foreign reinsurers are waiting in the wings to enter the China marketplace.

Market sources indicated that foreign reinsurers exploring business possibilities in China include GE Reinsurance, Chubb Re and Gerling Global Re. In addition, GE ERC has recently applied with the China Insurance Regulatory Commission for a license to operate in the property and casualty direct business, which is seen by the market as a stepping stone that will pave the way for the entry of GE Reinsurance.

The two Europe-based reinsurers-- Munich Re and Swiss Re-have been licensed to set up just one branch each.

The first to obtain a license was Munich Re, which did so last March, but it has not yet opened up a branch. The China Insurance Regulatory Commission has now granted a license to Swiss Re. CIRC has said Swiss Re may set up a branch to develop both property and casualty and life reinsurance business in China.

Swiss Re has not yet decided which city, Beijing and Shanghai, should be the venue of the only branch it has been allowed to set up because both cities are important markets, said Eric Gao, chief representative of the firm's office in Beijing.

The licenses granted to reinsurers are calculated to make life comfortable for...