China-based Ping An Insurance has reported a drop in its profit for the first time since 2008, media reports said. The insurer reported a 4.2 percent drop in annual net profit due to a slowdown in agent sales.
In a statement filed at the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, Ping An Insurance said, “Affected by the COVID-19 epidemic, Ping An experienced difficulties in offline business development and rising risks in retail consumer finance in 2020.”
Ping An Insurance’s total investment income from its life and health insurance businesses, which accounts for the bulk of its profits, increased by 4.5 percent to ¥182.5 billion, versus ¥175 billion a year ago.
According to Switzerland-based insurance company Swiss Re, China will drive the recovery of the global insurance market in the coming years. The insurer in its report said that premiums in China will grow at an estimated rate of 10 percent in non-life business and by 8.5 percent in the life business next year.
The report, titled ‘Rebuilding better: global economic and insurance market outlook 2021/22’, which was published last year, also points out that the global premium volume is set to decline by 1.4 percent this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, they are expected to grow by 3.4 percent in 2021 and by 3.3 percent in 2022.
A report published last year by UK-based data and analytics company GlobalData said that China’s general insurance industry is forecasted to grow at a rate of 3.8 percent in 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic.