China tightens reporting standards for life insurance firms

BEIJING/SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China’s banking and insurance regulator issued revised rules on Tuesday that tighten actuarial reporting standards for life insurance firms, part of efforts to improve supervision and risk control in the country’s financial sector.

The new rules require life insurance firms to tighten management of their liabilities, create a reporting system to cover asset and liability terms that facilitate linkage between the two and strengthen cash flow.

In recent years, a score of Chinese insurers have invested in long-term projects, funded by issuing high-yield, short-term universal life insurance.

The regulator has expressed concern that the sudden withdrawal of funds from such short-term universal life products could have an impact on insurer cash flow.

The rules also tighten the standards for hiring of chief actuaries, professionals who assess the probabilities of an event occurring among other things, on whose calculations insurance pricing is determined.

Rules have also been set out for punishment of life insurance firms with insufficient reserves, a serious mismatch of liabilities and assets and those who exhibit a major liquidity risk.

Reporting by Beijing Monitoring Desk and Engen Tham; Editing by Sunil Nair