Full steam ahead for shipping insurance centers
Updated: 2010-12-31 09:38
By Wang Ying (China Daily)
A police officer at Yangshan deep water port in Shanghai. Shanghai Port is expected to handle 29 million 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) containers in 2010, surpassing Singapore as the world's largest port in terms of container volume. [Photo / Bloomberg]
Despite their intense rivalry, the two centers share the same ambitious goal - developing shipping insurance services in Shanghai, which has set its sights on becoming an international financial and shipping center by 2020, said experts.
Shanghai-based China Pacific Insurance (Group) Co Ltd announced the establishment of a shipping insurance operation center in the city on Thursday.
The center will provide a shipping insurance service covering vessels, cargo transportation, maritime energy, port property and marine liabilities.
Just one day earlier, a similar body was launched by PICC Property and Casualty Co Ltd, a subsidiary of People's Insurance Co (Group) of China Ltd (PICC).
Both of the centers got the nod this August from the China Insurance Regulatory Commission.
"This is good news. The establishment of the two centers is helpful for market competition and brand building," said Ding Jianping, a professor at Shanghai University of Finance and Economics.
Although Shanghai Port has been widely recognized as one of the world's largest, shipping-related financial services remain in their infancy, said Ding.
Meanwhile, the port's cargo capacity has exceeded 600 million tons, the world's biggest for the fourth consecutive year.
"During the process of developing equivalent shipping financial facilities, a competitive shipping price index is required for the development of a world-class shipping business, and the first step is to have a shipping insurance institute," added Ding.
Wang Huiping, an analyst from Huarong Securities, said China's property insurance sector is too dependent on auto insurance. The heavy reliance on a specific type of insurance indicates that the country's insurance business is not fully developed, said Wang.
According to Wang, auto insurance accounts for up to 80 percent of China's total property insurance revenue, while shipping insurance takes up less than 5 percent.
Both of the parent companies have their own strengths. PICC is China's largest insurance company and Shanghai-based China Pacific Insurance has good relations with local clients, added Wang.
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