Health and medical insurance in China’s Greater Bay Area

Survey findings from the Hong Kong and Guangdong markets.

The Greater Bay Area (GBA) is southern China's most important cluster by output and is forecast to be the leading area of economic value creation in the world by 2030. Swiss Re Institute has conducted a new survey in the Guangdong and Hong Kong insurance markets of the GBA, to understand the insurance market landscape and changing sentiment of GBA consumers in 2021. It is a follow-up to our first survey in 2019.

The new survey shows that Guangdong residents still increasingly intend to purchase medical care and insurance services from Hong Kong insurers, despite the impact of COVID-19, and social disturbances in Hong Kong, over the past two years. Medical reimbursement and critical illness insurance continue to be the top-priority products. Demand is driven by higher consumer risk awareness due to the pandemic and development in the GBA.

Hong Kong continues to attract Guangdong customers for its quality of medical care in private hospitals, and a perception that Hong Kong's medical insurers offer better after-sales service, coverage and faster pay-outs. Guangdong residents' ownership of medical insurance has increased significantly and is approaching similar levels to Hong Kong.

To close the health protection gap in the GBA, insurers will need to work closely with the regulator to facilitate the development of market infrastructure and harmonise the region's legal framework.  Connecting Hong Kong medical insurance with mainland social security schemes will help Guangdong customers to gauge their medical protection coverage and hence improve the product attractiveness. Facilitating cross-border currency payments and setting up service centres in Guangdong will also make life easier for GBA customers.

The survey findings point to a promising outlook once COVID-19 dissipates and borders reopen. Visitors to Hong Kong from Guangdong should return, supporting further growth in demand for Hong Kong's insurers.

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Survey findings from the Hong Kong and Guangdong markets.

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