Sat, Jan 13, 2001 - Page 17 News List

Beijing okays four local insurance firms

STAFF WRITER , WITH AGENCIES

Four Taiwan-based insurance companies have obtained permission from Beijing to open representative offices in China, an industry insider said yesterday.

"We just received the approval letter," said Jerry Kao (高蘇源), spokesman for Fubon Insurance (富邦保險), Taiwan's largest non-life insurance company. "We will open a representative office in Beijing in one month."

Cathay Life Insurance Co (國泰人壽) also confirmed that it has received a license from Beijing, said Liao Chang-chao (廖昶超), a spokesperson for Cathay Life.

Cathay Life, Fubon Insurance (富邦), Shinkong Life Insurance Co (新光人壽), and Mingtai Fire and Marine Insurance Co (明台產物保險) will be the first insurers from Taiwan permitted to set up offices in China, local media reported.

Under mainland laws, representative offices are limited to offering consultation and conducting market research in China.

A Cathay Life official recently said it had received "indications" from mainland authorities that the insurer's application to set up representative offices in China will be approved by the end of the year.

The company, which controls half of Taiwan's life insurance market, believes that China's consumers will soon start buying life insurance policies because their incomes are growing steadily.

Foreign investors must wait two years after setting up a representative office before they start doing business in China, although the regulations may differ for Taiwan-owned companies.

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