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China Regulator Tells Insurers to Keep Their Noses Clean

23 Jul 2017 7:19 am

SHANGHAI--China's insurance regulator called for greater self-discipline in the industry to better serve the economy, as part of a broader effort to guard against financial risks.

Insurers need to "return to core business" and strive to become "shock absorbers and stabilizers" in the economy, said Liang Tao, vice chairman of the China Insurance Regulatory Commission.

Mr. Liang also urged strengthening of the communist party's leadership in overseeing the industry, according to a transcript of his speech published on the CIRC website Saturday.

The industry has increased oversight of the design and sales of life-insurance products, and halted pilots for investment-type non-life insurance products, Mr. Liang said.

The message underscores China's shifting priorities in the financial sector, moving from encouraging innovation to preventing systemic risk.

China's insurance sector, with total assets of $2.4 trillion, came under tighter scrutiny from Beijing this year, following a period of aggressive growth driven primarily by high-yield and short-term investment-type insurance policies.

The former top regulator, Xiang Junbo, was investigated in April by the country's antigraft agency, while major insurers and industry executives have been probed for any possible rule violations.

Anbang Insurance Group Chairman Wu Xiaohui was in June detained by Chinese authorities investigating corruption and trying to curb risky financial behavior. Foresea Life Insurance chairman Yao Zhenhua was in February barred from working in the insurance industry for 10 years.

During a major conference last week, China's President Xi Jinping urged the financial sector to better serve the real economy and ward off systemic risks.

Yifan Xie
 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 23, 2017 03:19 ET (07:19 GMT)

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