Generali in Joint P/C Venture with China National Petroleum

Italy’s Assicurazioni Generali announced that it has received the go-ahead from the China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC), to set up a joint venture to operate in the non-life sector with its partner, China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC).

Generali’s announcement noted that it will be “the only foreign group to have been authorized to operate in the country’s life as well as non-life insurance sectors through two companies subject to local laws, the already operative Generali China Life and the soon-to-be established non-life joint venture, both in partnership with CNPC.”

Generali CEO Sergio Balbinot commented: “With the starting of operations in the non-life business the Generali Group will further strengthen its strategic position in China by acquiring the possibility to combine the range of products already available at Generali
China Life with a number of additional covers in both the personal and SME segments”.

He added that the “new company aims at seizing China’s non-life insurance potential by optimizing value creation in the interest of both clients and stockholders, backed, on the one hand, by the underwriting know-how and international experience of the Generali Group and, on the other hand, by CNCP’s strong domestic presence and financial solidity.”

Generali also indicated that in addition to serving local needs, the “larger product portfolio will improve the efficiency of the Chinese companies thanks to the sharing of IT, administrative and commercial platforms.”

Opportunities in China continue to attract foreign insurers. Generali explained that the Chinese non-life sector presently generates “an overall premium income of approximately €12 billion [$14.56 billion], recording an annual growth rate of 20 percent in the past three years. 34 operators are currently present in the Chinese market, 13 of which are the branch offices of international groups, representing 1.3 percent of the overall market.”

Generali, the third-largest European group and Italian market leader, and CNPC, one of China’s biggest conglomerates operating in the petrochemical sector, established Generali China Life in 2002. “In 2005, the Chinese subsidiary climbed to first place in terms of premium income among foreign companies and is currently present in the regions of Guangzhou (from 2002), Beijing and Foshan (from 2004) and Shanghai (from 2005) where it can rely on sales network of approximately 2,000 agents,” the announcment concluded.