Swiss Re COVID-19 consumer survey 2021: views of insurance in China one year on

The global health and economic shock of COVID-19 has exposed shortfalls in consumers' insurance protection needs. Swiss Re conducted consumer surveys in major Asia-Pacific markets in April 2020 and again in early 2021 to understand consumers' evolving attitudes to healthy lifestyles, insurance products and distribution channels. This report, in Chinese only, focuses on the findings from the latest survey in January-February 2021 for consumers in mainland China (for the findings of the 2021 Asia Pacific survey, please click here). 

Despite being one of the first economies globally to rebound from COVID-19, the pandemic has highlighted the importance of insurance and caused consumers to rethink their protection needs. Chinese consumers feel they receive inadequate protection from their existing critical illness (CI), personal accident (PA) and medical insurance (MI) policies. More than half of Chinese respondents said that they would prioritise increasing MI (57%) and CI (56%) protection as a result of their higher health awareness triggered by COVID-19 (see Figure 1). 

Figure 1: Perceived shortfalls in existing insurance protection and priorities for further cover

Source: Swiss Re Institute

Around half of Chinese respondents want to buy insurance to proactively manage the risks they face in different areas and they prefer products with more comprehensive coverage. The proportion of Chinese respondents searching for and purchasing insurance is slightly lower than during the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020. However, 69% of respondents in 2021 expressed that they intend to buy further insurance in the next six months, an increase of 10% on 2020 and around 26% higher than the overall Asia-Pacific market (see Figure 2). 

Figure 2: Intention to purchase new or additional insurance products in the next six months

Source: Swiss Re Institute 

The acceleration of digital transformation in China has significantly increased interaction between consumers and insurers via digital channels. Almost 80% of Chinese respondents in 2021 said they had been contacted or actively contacted by insurance companies recently via phone or email. When choosing an insurer, Chinese consumers care more about online availability, are more price-sensitive, and focus more on the extent of insurance coverage than those in other Asia-Pacific markets (see Figure 3). Chinese respondents also believe the most important features for insurers to improve on are faster claims payments, more flexibility in coverage, and the ability to process more transactions online. 

Figure 3: Important features when choosing an insurer

Source: Swiss Re Institute

These latest findings indicate consumers' approaches to healthy lifestyles and preferences for insurance policies post-COVID-19. For insurers, the elevated awareness of risk resulting from the pandemic can translate into new insurance purchasing behaviour, particularly demand for tailored insurance products with flexibility in coverage and easy access to digital purchasing and processing channels. 

In China, following new regulator guidance that insurers should offer a variety of L&H insurance products, our research indicates an opportunity for insurance companies to identify target consumer groups such as older people or children, and improve efficiency for these throughout the insurance value chain to create differentiated offerings in the market.


expertise publication 2021年后疫情时期中国消费者保险行为洞察分析

Swiss Re COVID-19 consumer survey 2021: views of insurance in China one year on

COVID-19 consumer survey 2021: insurance in Asia Pacific

Discover COVID-19 consumer survey 2021: insurance in Asia Pacific

Related teasers