Germany’s biggest insurer, Allianz is partnering with Baidu, often dubbed the “Chinese Google” to launch an online insurance company in China, the Financial Times reports.
Allianz will join up with China’s biggest search engine and investment group Hillhouse Capital to take advantage of the country’s fast-expanding insurance market.
China’s insurance industry is currently dominated by a so-called “Big Five'” companies: China Taiping insurance, China Life Insurance, China Pacific Insurance, People’s Insurance Company of China, and Ping An Insurance.
However, Allianz looks to be trying to cash in on the rapid growth of the Chinese middle class, which has increased the amount of citizens looking to buy insurance for their health and belongings.
A major report from Dagong Europe in 2014 suggested that the Chinese insurance market will continue to grow at around 15% for the next few years. In turn, the report notes that premiums are also expected to increase.
Allianz’s move into online insurance in China also looks to be taking advantage of the increased demand for online insurance. Buyers are increasingly skipping insurance brokers in favour of buying through comparison sites and company websites. Allianz’s new CEO Oliver Bate, who took the job in May, said in an interview this week that this change is having a “big impact” on major insurers.
“If you look at innovative business models like the taxi service Uber or the flat-sharing site Airbnb: the technology behind it can be quickly downloaded from every app store,” Bate told German paper the Suddeutsche Zeitung on Monday, as quoted by the FT.
“What is new is that new services are being developed for customers, that are simply better than what currently exists.”
Products sold through the reported new online insurance platform are expected to include travel, health and internet finance insurance.
Business Insider has asked Allianz for confirmation of the launch and is awaiting a reply.
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