Ping An Insurance Group Co., China’s second-biggest insurer, is collaborating with Ctrip.com International Ltd. to sell smog insurance to tourists traveling to Beijing and six other Chinese cities.
Travelers in Beijing can get a daily payout of 50 yuan ($8) if the air quality index exceeds 200 for three consecutive days, Ping An said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. The insurance, available when booking on Ctrip.com, costs 10 yuan for seven days and sets different standards for the other cities.
The product represents an attempt to profit off smog that the country’s top leaders have acknowledged is a growing problem. Premier Li Keqiang said earlier this month the government will “declare war” on pollution and tackle it with the same determination that it’s fought poverty.
“This may mostly play a marketing role as the compensation is relatively low,” said Olive Xia, a Shanghai-based analyst at Core Pacific-Yamaichi. “It can’t fully compensate losses.”
A level of 200 on the air quality index is classified as “medium pollution” in China.
The other cities where the insurance is available are Xi’an, Harbin, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Shijiazhuang and Shanghai, according to Ping An. Residents of those cities can also buy the insurance. Ping An also rolled out a health insurance related to smog, the first of its kind in China, against lung cancer and certain respiratory diseases, it said.
China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection said Beijing was one of the 10 most polluted cities in the country in February, according to a statement yesterday. Also on the list is Xi’an, home to the terracotta warriors, a top tourist draw.
Air quality in Beijing, Tianjin and the surrounding province of Hebei failed to meet government standards on 68.5 percent of days last month, the ministry said in the same statement yesterday.