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Monday, Apr 22, 2024

A breakthrough is on the way in Greater Bay Area motor insurance

A breakthrough is on the way in Greater Bay Area motor insurance

Four major Hong Kong insurers including the local units of Ping An and China Taiping plan to introduce a new ‘one-stop’ motor insurance policy covering the city and Greater Bay Area as they expect cross-border traffic to surge under a forthcoming easing of travel quotas.
Four major Hong Kong insurers including the local units of Ping An Insurance (Group) and China Taiping Insurance plan to introduce a new “one-stop” motor insurance policy covering the city and Greater Bay Area as they expect cross-border traffic to surge under a forthcoming travel scheme.

Zurich Insurance and Asia Insurance are also preparing to introduce tailor-made policies for the “quota-free scheme” for motorists travelling to southern Guangdong province via the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, company executives told the Post. Drivers will be able to buy just one policy covering their journey, rather than separate cover for Hong Kong and mainland China.

The travel scheme, first announced in December, will enable an estimated 450,000 private car owners in Hong Kong to travel to Guangdong province for business or sightseeing without the constraints of the previous quota system which only allowed 19,500 cars to cross the border on the mega bridge.

Motorists will be able to apply to drive to Guangdong and stay for up to 30 days per trip, but not for more than 180 days in one year. Further details are due to be announced by the end of March, with the scheme to be implemented later this year.

Under the existing system, motor travel across the 55km (34-mile) bridge has been largely limited to political leaders or people with big business operations in Guangdong due to Covid-19 curbs.

The easing of vehicle restrictions is part of the Hong Kong and mainland governments’ efforts to promote more cross-border traffic between the 11 cities of the Greater Bay Area, a vast economic zone encompassing Hong Kong, Macau and nine cities in Guangdong.

“It will be good to have such a new scheme as it is impossible for most car owners to do so at present,” said Dicky Lam, a motorist in Hong Kong. “It will also be helpful to have a one-stop policy. Hopefully it will not be too expensive.”

China Taiping, established in 1929 in Shanghai and the mainland’s oldest insurance brand, has already started promoting the product on its website and WeChat account. Its products offer comprehensive coverage in both Hong Kong and Guangdong. They also include third-party liability in Hong Kong.

Ping An Insurance (Hong Kong), the local unit of China’s biggest insurer, is developing a “one motor insurance policy” covering third-party liabilities for accidents in the Greater Bay Area excluding Macau, a company spokesman said.

Eric Hui, the CEO of Zurich Insurance in the city, said the firm is also working on a product to meet the need to make it “more convenient and potentially cheaper” for car owners as the quotas are removed.

Bernard Chan, chairman and president of Asia Financial Holdings, said its unit Asia Insurance is planning to offer a similar policy for the travel scheme, adding that “we are ready when the government is ready.”

The motor insurance business has been improving, with gross premiums rising 20 per cent to HK$4.11 billion in the first nine months of last year versus the same corresponding period in 2021, according to data published by Insurance Authority.

Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu in December unveiled a road map for the development of the insurance industry, including a wide range of tax incentives and regulatory measures to turn the city into an insurance hub for the Greater Bay Area, the Belt and Road Initiative and projects related to climate change.

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