China's 10 biggest nonlife insurers by market share retained their positions in 2017 as a liberalization of the country's auto insurance sector favored the largest companies.
The second phase of reform in the pricing of commercial auto insurance further liberalized pricing and allowed for more discounts to customers, reaffirming larger insurers' advantages in economies of scale. The six insurers that are either listed or owned by a listed group represented a combined 69.7% of gross written premium in 2017, up slightly from 68.9% in 2016, while the top 10 accounted for just over 85% of premiums, broadly flat with the prior year.
Meanwhile, a cleanup of so-called irregular products in the property and casualty sector is believed to have had limited effects on large insurers, even though the top three by market share — PICC Property & Casualty Co. Ltd., Ping An Property & Casualty Insurance Co. of China Ltd. and China Pacific Property Insurance Co. Ltd. — were penalized by the China Insurance Regulatory Commission in February, alongside eighth-ranked Taiping General Insurance Co. Ltd.
All four insurers are either listed or units of listed groups. China Continent P&C Insurance Co. Ltd., a unit of listed China Reinsurance (Group) Corp., ranked sixth, while online-only insurer ZhongAn Online P & C Insurance Co. Ltd., which listed in September 2017, was 18th with a 0.57% market share, up from 25th and 0.37% in 2016. ZhongAn grew premiums by nearly 75% year over year in 2017.
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