INSURERS EXPECT BETTER FORTUNES IN 2013, AFTER TOUGH 12 MONTHS
DESPITE a plunge in 2012 net profits, China's major insurance companies say they expect a more prosperous 2013, thanks to the relaxation of rules making it easier for them to raise new funds and expand into investment businesses. Six of China's largest insurers listed in Shanghai and Hong Kong have released annual figures for 2012, showing combined net profits of 46.7 billion yuan (MYR22.79 billion), a 22% drop on 2011. According to Xiang Junbo, chairman of the China Insurance Regulatory Commission, the slowdown in profit growth by the others was blamed on shrinking income from life insurance premiums due to fierce competition, comparatively lower investment returns, and an imminent peak in maturing policies and other payouts. The regulatory authorities have noticed the problems faced by China's biggest insurers. Analysts said that an easier fundraising environment in 2013 may help improve solvency levels and long-term liquidity, as will any expansion of investment channels by the regulators, who have already sensed the difficulties being felt in the insurance sector.
CNY100 = MYR48.80