CIGNA Corporation announced that it has received formal approval to enter the Chinese life insurance market from the China Insurance Regulatory Commission, the first new license issued to a foreign insurer by the Chinese since the country’s accession to the World Trade Organization last year.
Terry Kendall, president of CIGNA’s international operations called the approval “a watershed event.” The company said it “is exploring a joint venture relationship and expects to begin its life insurance operations next year in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, the thriving commercial hub adjacent to Hong Kong.”
“China and CIGNA have enjoyed a long-standing business and cultural relationship that dates back more than 200 years,” stated CIGNA CEO H. Edward Hanway. “Now, we look forward to re-entering China’s insurance marketplace as a full participant. We are committed to adapting CIGNA’s well-established U.S. and international experience to the life insurance and health care needs of the Chinese people.”
CIGNA’s history actually predates its Chinese activities by 10 years. According to the company its predecessor the Insurance Company of North America (INA), underwrote its first two marine risks on the hull of the ship America and the goods it carried from Philadelphia to Londonderry on December 15, 1792.