ICMIF introduces mutual insurance to China

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

China has taken a vital step closer to creating a more diverse and inclusive insurance market for its people, following a landmark forum organized by its regulatory commission.

Last week more than 120 officials from the China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC) and potential mutual insurers assembled at The Howard Johnson Plaza, Shanghai, China for the International Forum on Operations Experience of Mutual Insurance. The forum was held on 18 November 2015 with the express desire of participants and organisers to understand the opportunity of growing a mutual insurance market in China.

The event opened with welcome speeches from Mrs Fan Liming, President of Shanghai University of Finance and Economics and Mr Liang Tao, Vice Chairman, CIRC. Keynote speeches were then delivered by Jean-Louis Davet, Member of the Board of the International Cooperative and Mutual Insurance Federation (ICMIF) and CEO of a leading health mutual insurer MGEN (France) and Liz Green, Senior Vice-President of ICMIF. The speakers shared market data, case studies and reputation research all arguing that mutual insurance is the fastest growing part of the insurance industry and delivers diversity and innovation in markets all over the world. Key findings from ICMIF’s 2013 Mutual Market Share Research included:

  • Since the onset of the financial crisis, mutual and cooperative insurers have grown their premium income by 28% between 2007 and 2013, whilst the total insurance market only increased by 11% during the same period
  • 915 million people are served by mutual and cooperative insurers globally.

The agenda featured a number of speakers from academia and also Dr Yanping Liu, a senior actuary at mutual insurer LV=.

The forum finished with a panel session with six of the speakers taking to the stage for an hour and a half where they answered a great number of questions from the delegates – many of which came from the applicants for the pilot mutual insurance licences. ICMIF representatives Jean-Louis Davet and Liz Green shared insights and concrete examples of the way mutual insurers bring leading, innovative and robust solutions to the various insurance markets. The precise answers on practical solutions in the fields of governance, management, financial matters, or solvency issues, given by Jean-Louis Davet, were very much appreciated by the delegates, and opened the way for local solutions.

Liz Green shared information with delegates on ICMIF’s 5-5-5 Mutual Microinsurance Strategy. She also explained about ICMIF Leadership+ training programme and the AGILE insurance simulation tool. One of the host organizations, Shanghai University of Finances and Economics, requested a return visit by ICMIF to deliver a session for the university and show the relevant professors a demonstration of the AGILE insurance simulation. This would give the university a true differentiator for their courses

Liz Green said: “This is indeed a historic moment for Chinese people - particularly the underserved, those without access to insurance provision. There is a huge appetite for delivering high quality, competitive mutual insurance products via digital platforms in China.  I believe that they will grant at least a few pilot mutual licences within the coming months - all in time for the G20 to be hosted here in 2016!” 

Jean-Louis Davet said: “Here at MGEN we have been working to promote the mutual movement in China for over five years now. We now have a strong momentum to help develop the mutual model in China. We look forward to continuing our work as MGEN but also as ICMIF member, with the China Insurance Regulatory Commission to help establish and grow a mutual insurance market in China”.