Insurance premiums in Hong Kong registered a 5.2% YoY increase, with total gross premiums reaching HK$514.5 billion in 2018, according to the latest figures from Hong Kong's Insurance Authority (IA).
The individual life category amounted to HK$426.3 billion or 92.4% of total long term business, the IA said. The respective number of policies in 2018 stood at 13.2 million, carrying net liabilities of HK$1,947.8 billion.
The total gross and net premiums of general insurance business stood at HK$53.1 billion (up 10%) and HK$34.7 billion (up 5%), respectively. The overall retention slightly decreased from 68.5% to 65.4%.
In the last seven to eight weeks, I’d say I’ve met between 80 and 100 clients in Hong Kong"
Policies sold to mainland visitors accounted for 26% of total new premiums received from individuals in the first six months of 2019, according to Hong Kong's Insurance Authority.
Chinese customers prefer to go to Hong Kong for insurance sold by the likes of Prudential and AIA Group, since the products offer an investment component and payouts in foreign currencies that are difficult to come by on the mainland.
However, the political turmoil and unrest in the streets is drying up one of the biggest sources of demand for Hong Kong insurance products. Anti-government demonstrations have led to a precipitous fall in mainland Chinese visitors to the semi-autonomous city.
In one sign of how big the issue has become for insurers, Prudential this month arranged mobile processing centers in conference rooms at a hotel near Hong Kong's airport, allowing visitors to sign their contracts without venturing into the city, according to a company memo seen by Bloomberg.
Wealthy Hongkongers are looking increasingly towards Ireland's fast-track residency scheme as a way to safeguard against the city's worst political crisis.
"In the last seven to eight weeks, I'd say I've met between 80 and 100 clients in Hong Kong," said James Hartshorn, director of Asia at Bartra. "Prior to that we had signed two to three Hong Kong clients," he told the SCMP.
To acquire residency status in Ireland, applicants and their families are required a minimum investment of €1m, in either a single Irish enterprise or spread over several enterprises, held for a minimum of 3 years under the Immigrant Investor Programme.
The other two options are donations of €500,000 to a public project or a€2m investment in any real estate investment trust listed on the Irish Stock Exchange.