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China Life toughs out volatile markets

China Life is the world’s biggest life assurer and China’s largest institutional investor. Its president talks to Sudip Roy about the challenges the company faces.

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Wan Feng, China Life

"China’s insurance market has the greatest potential for growth in the world. Most overseas markets are more mature and very competitive. That’s why many foreign insurance companies are eager to come to China"

Wan Feng, China Life

IT IS NOT just banks that are finding life difficult. Life assurers are coming under the cosh too. In the UK and US, doubts about capital adequacy have led to a sell-off in leading insurers’ shares: the sector in the UK has fallen by 40% this year. (see Insurers take cover to avoid capital crunch) At least capital adequacy should not be a problem for the world’s biggest life assurer, China Life, which is 68% government owned. But the company has not escaped the global economic and financial crisis: at the end of last month it announced that its 2008 net profit fell by 45% to Rmb21.3 billion ($3.1 billion). The result was better than expected, however.