China -  Chinese law firm

As part of China's compliance to the WTO agreement, what changes shall be made by China regarding the insurance industry?

  • In the past, different regulations for Chinese and foreign insurers applied, but after the transition period, agreed upon under WTO negotiations, a unified legal framework shall apply.
  • Currently, some cities (among them: Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen) are opened to foreign insurers, but at the end of the transition period of three years, the whole country shall be opened. However, we already see some positive signs with the opening of some cities earlier than agreed upon in the WTO negotiations.
  • Non-life insurers are allowed to insure foreign invested businesses through a branch or joint venture only. In future Chinese invested businesses can be insured also.
  • Life insurers are allowed to offer insurance policies to individuals but not group insurance policies through a joint venture (not a branch or subsidiary), but, in the future, group life policies can be offered. Thus, the transition period will be of particular importance.

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