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China readies for first online insurer

By Andrew Tjaardstra

The Chinese Insurance Regulatory Commission is set to approve the first internet only insurer which will be owned by nine shareholders including internet firm Alibaba and insurer Ping An.

The new company, called Zhongan, will not open any branches and initially offer liability and guarantee insurance for property insurance according to a report in the Shanghai Securities News. In addition to selling products online, it will also provide an online claims service.

Alibaba will be the largest shareholder in the business with a 19.9% stake, with Ping An and internet firm Tencent owning 5% stakes respectively. Six other shareholders, a mix of internet and investment companies, will own the rest of Zhongan.

Although the new venture has reportedly completed the regulatory approval process, the CIRC has yet to send out official confirmation.