State-owned China Reinsurance unveiled two new companies, paving the way for a share offering, the Economic Daily said Tuesday.
"The company decided to form a multi-operation structure supported by direct insurance and reinsurance and then carry out the listing," the newspaper quoted vice general manager Zhao Fengxiang as saying.
China Reinsurance is following in the steps of the People's Insurance Company of China and China Life Insurance Co. Ltd., which completed their reconstruction in July and August respectively.
They are the three biggest insurance companies in China.
China Life raised the size of the world's largest IPO this year by 15 percent to US$3.46 billion Friday, selling more shares to meet massive demand from investors.
The two new China Reinsurance companies, unveiled Monday, are China Property & Casualty Reinsurance Co. Ltd. and China Life Reinsurance Co.
China Reinsurance has a 45.1 percent stake in China Property & Casualty and holds 45 percent of China Life Reinsurance, the newspaper said.
After the reconstruction, China Reinsurance becomes a State-owned holding company with registered capital of 3 billion yuan (US$362.4 million).
A third subsidiary, China Continent Property, was inaugurated Oct. 20 in Shanghai with registered capital of 1 billion yuan. Foreign investors hold a 10 percent stake.
The newspaper did not name the foreign investors or say how much their stakes were.
In a separate development, Swiss Reinsurance, one of the world's largest reinsurers, launched operations in Beijing on Friday, making it the second foreign reinsurer to land in China according to a China Daily report.
It follows Munich Reinsurance into the sector -- a major rival in global reinsurance market.
Swiss Reinsurance would conduct nationwide business with its headquarters in Beijing and develop business in both non-life and life reinsurance arenas, the company said.
The firm will have branch operations in Shanghai, and sub-branches in other cities.
"China is definitely taking over the limelight as the insurance world's biggest new growth opportunity," said John Coomber, the firm's CEO. "We view this move as an essential step to our success here," Coomber, whose company received its operating license approval from the China Insurance Regulatory Commission in September, was quoted as saying.
China's WTO commitments require the country to fully open its insurance markets to foreign competition by 2006, when most of the domestic insurance companies are set to finish their internal reforms and become more efficient and competitive in the market.