Companies expected to weather the storm

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 17 February, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 17 February, 2008, 12:00am

Falling stock markets have led investment-linked insurance policyholders to re-evaluate investments, and also prompted concerns about the health of insurance companies.

Insurance sector legislator Bernard Chan said it was difficult to predict the effect of volatile stock markets and the fallout from mainland snowstorms. 'However, with generally reasonable proper reinsurance protection by each local insurance company, it is believed the ultimate financial impact on insurance companies will not be that great,' he said.

Hong Kong Federation of Insurers chairman Michael Huddart said some general insurance companies had stocks, but he believed they would not suffer serious losses. 'Their stock investments tend to be conservative, with the majority of their money in fixed-income investments,' he said.

AXA China region Hong Kong head John Cai said most insurance company assets were invested in fixed-income bonds, mainly US government bonds, and could benefit from current lower interest rates.