Chinese health insurance business set to exceed US$136bn in 2022, says GlobalData

The health insurance business in China is projected to grow from CNY437.4bn (US$64.7bn) in 2017 to CNY921.1bn (US$136.6bn) in 2022, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

GlobalData’s report, ‘China General Insurance: Key trends and Opportunities to 2022’, reveals that health insurance, which contributes about 30% of the total Chinese general insurance business, is the country’s fastest-growing line of business.

Direct written premium in health insurance, which registered a compound annual growth rate of 41.2% between 2013 and 2017, is projected to grow at 16.1% over 2017-2022.

Manisha Varma, Insurance Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “China’s ongoing demographic shift, with a decline in fertility and a rise in aging, exerts pressure on the existing social healthcare system, which increasingly faces a challenge in terms of inadequate coverage and capacity. This is an opportunity for private insurers to tap into.”

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Private insurers are driving the momentum in terms of new product offerings in critical illness cover as well as enabling online-based short-term insurance policies. This played an important role in enhancing health insurance penetration.

GlobalData forecasts health insurance penetration to increase from 0.53% in 2017 to 0.74% in 2022.

Notably, the focus is on the retail consumer segment, due to its predominant share in the health insurance business. However, efforts are underway to promote the commercial segment as well. The recent regulatory support measures in this regard include tax exemptions and directions for specific product categories (such as cancer control).

Varma concludes: “The importance of the health insurance business is set to grow further with rising demand for healthcare and higher insurance penetration. By 2022, the share of health insurance is projected to reach 36% of the total general insurance business.”

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