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The Chinese insurance market has grown at a furious pace in recent years. Based on 2019 research, the Swiss Re Institute projected that China’s share of global premiums will increase from 11% in 2018 to 20% by 2029, easily surpassing that of the United States, which is currently the leader in the $5 trillion (USD) global market. In the institute’s 2021 report, China is still the market to watch, “where economic and premium growth continue at a strong pace.” China’s strong economy, high levels of government spending, consumer awareness, and technological innovations are driving the nation’s growth in the insurance sector.

Today, the biggest insurance companies in China rank among the largest companies in the world in terms of market capitalization. A.M. Best, a global rating agency, published a list of the top 25 largest insurance companies in the world by net premiums written (NPW) and 2020 non-banking assets. These are the top five Chinese insurance companies according to A.M. Best.

Key Takeaways:

  • The Chinese insurance market has grown at a furious pace in recent years and will surpass that of the United States by 2029.
  • A strong economy, government investment, consumer awareness, and technology are fueling China’s growth in the insurance sector.
  • China’s biggest insurance companies are among the largest companies in the world.

Ping An Insurance (Group) of China Ltd.

Ping An of China was founded in 1988 and held its initial public offering (IPO) in 2004. While the company began as a property and casualty insurance company, it has since expanded into the life insurance, banking, online financial services, and wealth management businesses with the stated goal of becoming a comprehensive financial services provider. Not only is Ping An one of the top insurance companies in the world, but it is also the biggest insurance company in China, with a market capitalization of about $118 billion (as of July 2022) and net premiums written $118.8 billion for 2020, according to A.M. Best. As of December 31, 2021, according to its annual report, the company employed 355,982 employees, of which 189,305 were in the insurance business. The company had 227 million customers in 2021. Ping An is listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange and the The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited.

China Life Insurance (Group) Company

With a market capitalization of about $103.9 billion (as of July 2022), China Life Insurance Co., Ltd.is the second largest company in China in both net non-banking assets and net premiums written for 2020. NPW for China Life are $111.2 billion, according to A.M. Best. China Life traces its roots to the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949. It operates life insurance and property and casualty insurance businesses, and it also offers asset management services and other financial services.

China Life maintains a substantial nationwide service network, with 820,000 exclusive agent force reported in the company’s 2021 annual report. The company operates 323 million long-term individual and group life insurance policies, annuity contracts, and long-term health insurance policies. As of 2021, China Life offered insurance services to over 500 million customers. The company is listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange, the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, and the New York Stock Exchange.

People’s Insurance Company of China Group

People’s Insurance Company of China Group was established in 1949. The company has NPW of $79.6 billion and a market cap of $226.6 billion, as of July 2022. Along with subsidiaries, the group is mainly engaged in property insurance, reinsurance, health insurance, life insurance, pension insurance, commercial property, agricultural policies, and operating insurance. Its most substantial subsidiary is PICC Property and Casualty Company, which, as of the 2021, had 171,508 employees. People’s Insurance Company of China Group is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

China Pacific Insurance (Group) Company Ltd.

China Pacific Insurance Group is an integrated insurance provider offering property and casualty insurance, life insurance, and reinsurance products, as well as asset management and investment services. NPW for the company are $51.7 billion, according to A.M. Best. As of December 31, 2021, China Pacific has 107,000 employees, with almost 60% with an expertise in marketing. China Pacific traces its roots to 1991. It was listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange in 2007 and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 2009. And as of July 2022, it has a market capitalization of $233.37 billion.

New China Life Insurance

Even though it is no longer on the top five list, New China Life Insurance Company is still a company of interest. Founded in 1996 with its primary business remains life insurance, the company also has growing business interests in the investment industry and the health care industry. New China Life Insurance has a market cap of $80.8 billion. In 2020, the company reported 34,434 employees. New China Life has more than 33,000 individual customers and 89,000 institutional customers. The company manages and deploys insurance funds through its subsidiaries including Asset Management Company and Asset Management Company (Hong Kong). New China Life was simultaneously listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and the Shanghai Stock Exchange in 2011.

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