Chinese non-life personal lines – consumer perspectives

Investigating consumer preferences for non-life personal insurance in China

The Chinese insurance market has been growing rapidly. Since 2000, non-life insurance premiums have increased by an average of 18% per annum, significantly higher than China's annual GDP growth rate of 13.1%. Motor (commercial and personal) by far is the largest line of business, accounting for 70% of non-life portfolio in 2017.

Personal non-life lines like home, PA and short-term health insurance have seen rapid growth in recent years, and we expect this to continue in the short to medium term, due to increasing wealth (and living standards), and increasing awareness of insurance. This has been also helped by government policy support for enhanced social welfare, which in turn has led to a rapid increase in demand for personal insurance products. Non-life insurers in China are developing their personal insurance portfolios through innovation in product design and digital delivery, which is supporting sustainable growth of the country’s risk protection sector by expanding covers to new risks.

This study investigates consumers’ buying behaviors, risk perceptions and preferences specifically with respect to travel, home and health insurance. Our findings are based on focus group discussions and an online survey of 3 600 Chinese consumers that Swiss Re conducted between April and May 2018. A discrete choice model (DCM) was also used to analyze consumers’ choice preferences. The following are some key findings:

  • For travel insurance, most consumers prefer to research and purchase policies online. Due to the wealth of information available and user-friendly payment options, online platforms are accounting for an increasingly large share of sales.
  • For home insurance, consumers like to conduct research both online and offline, but prefer to purchase policies through offline channels. As awareness of home insurance remains poor and insurers have not invested heavily in marketing, many consumers need to rely on offline channels (such as Iocal insurance branches and agents/brokers) to research available policy options. Recommendations from friends and family members also play a significant role.
  • For health insurance, many consumers obtain information from online forums and insurance platforms. However, for the actual purchase transaction, offline sales channels dominate. Key triggers to buying insurance include knowing family or friends who have avoided financial ruin by virtue of being insured.

Find out more about in the full report, available in English and Chinese.

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