Chinese companies remained atop S&P Global Market Intelligence's annual ranking of Asia-Pacific insurers, with most having recorded double-digit gross written premium growth in 2017.
Despite a crackdown on the sale of some of their products and regulatory uncertainties throughout the year, Chinese insurers represented the top two in the life market, two of the top three in non-life and the entirety of the top three at group level.
The life business of Ping An Insurance (Group) Co. of China Ltd., which also incorporates the company's health and annuity units, jumped to the second spot in 2017 from fifth in 2016 after gross written premiums rose by a third, reducing the gap between it and the region's biggest life insurer, China Life Insurance Co. Ltd.
Six Japanese life insurers were present in the 2017 top 20, and all dropped in the rankings relative to 2016.
As was the case in the life sector, most Chinese property and casualty insurers reported double-digit gross written premium growth in 2017.
Ping An Property & Casualty Insurance Co. of China Ltd. overtook Japan's MS&AD Insurance Group Holdings Inc. in third place, helped by cross-selling efforts and rapid growth in guarantee insurance. PICC Property & Casualty Co. Ltd., meanwhile, consolidated its leading position with a 12.7% growth rate.
South Korean non-life insurers took seven spots in the ranking, matching the Chinese presence, on the back of high contribution from long-term products, which are quasi-life insurance products offering protection and savings features. Such long-term products made up 66.9% of the Korean non-life segment's premium income, according to the country's Financial Supervisory Service.
At group level, China Life Insurance (Group) Co., Ping An and PICC claimed the top three spots in 2017.
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