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Online insurance company approved

By Chen Yang (Global Times)

08:34, February 20, 2013

The establishment of a new online insurance joint venture between Internet companies Alibaba Group, Tencent Holdings and Ping An Insurance has been approved by China's insurance regulator, marking a new era for insurance sales, an official newspaper reported Tuesday.

The venture, named Zhong An Online Property Insurance, has completed the regulatory approval process and the China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC) will release the news soon, the Shanghai Securities News quoted unnamed sources as saying.

"Alibaba submitted the application last year, but currently we have not received any information from the insurance authority," said Zhang Lei, a member of staff with Alibaba's public relations department.

The CIRC's news department failed to respond to questions sent by the Global Times by press time.

Alibaba will be the largest shareholder in the new insurance company with a 19.9 percent stake, followed by Ping An Insurance and Tencent, who will each hold a 5 percent stake. There are also six smaller shareholders including online travel agent services provider, IT company Rising Technology and several investment companies.

The new venture will not open any branch office offline, but will operate all insurance sales and claims settlement on the Internet. The company will focus on liability and guarantee insurance, the report said.

The establishment of an online insurance company will be a groundbreaking event in China's insurance sector, experts said.

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