Hong Kong: Protests cost insurance industry over US$129 mln in sales

The Hong Kong insurance industry is estimated to have already lost at least HK$1 billion (US$129 million) in revenue due to the pro-democracy Umbrella Revolution which began on 26 September.

The Hong Kong Insurance Practitioners General Union, which provided the estimate, said that the figure was a conservative number.

Mr. Roy Cheung Wai-leung, chairman of the Hong Kong Insurance Practitioners General Union, speaking to the media, said that the peak insurance sales season fails in the final quarter of each year. The average monthly insurance premiums collected during this quarter normally amount to two times, or even three times, the average monthly figure for the year. He expressed concern that if the protests continued, the livelihood of the more than 80,000 people who work in the industry would be affected. The income of agents has fallen by 20%, he said.

PVI reinsurance

He said that the street protests affected traffic in the territory, and made it inconvenient for customers to meet their insurance agents or go for their health check-ups, particularly as the protests are in Causeway Bay and Mongkok where two big health screening centres are located.

He also pointed out that the Umbrella Revolution had caused the number of mainland tourists to Hong Kong to shrink during the 1 October Golden Week holidays and affected insurance sales. Mainland Chinese account for 18% to 20% of Hong Kong’s insurance market, and this proportion has been increasing from year to year. Many mainland tourists make use of the holidays to buy insurance in the territory.

Travel agencies in Hong Kong were reporting a fall in inbound mainland Chinese tour groups of up to 30% in the first few days of the protest before travel agents on the mainland said on 1 October that group visas for Hong Kong-bound Chinese tourists had been suspended.

Last year, 40.7 million mainland Chinese visited Hong Kong, accounting for 75% of total arrivals. In February, the Hong Kong tourism authorities said that they expected 45 million mainland tourists to visit the territory this year.

Source: eDaily