Chinese insurers fined 111m yuan over price fixing in car policies

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 03 September, 2014, 10:19am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 03 September, 2014, 10:19am

China’s anti-monopoly regulator has slapped a fine of 111 million yuan (HK$139.86 million) to an insurance association and 23 property insurers in Zhejiang province for fixing prices on car insurance policies.

The Zhejiang Provincial Insurance Association and the 23 property insurers in the eastern province were found guilty in fixing discounts for car insurance premiums during multiple meetings, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said on Tuesday.

Li Qing, deputy director general of the commission’s price supervision unit, told the China News Service on Tuesday that the investigations were based on reports from media and other people.

She said the probes also covered nine other insurers, including Liberty Insurance of the United States and Japan’s Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance, but the investigations had been suspended as they did not participate in the monopoly agreement.

The penalties were the regulator’s latest move targeting the vehicle industry. A number of foreign carmakers and car-parts makers have been fined for price manipulation over the past month. The NDRC fined 10 Japanese car-parts suppliers for 1.24 billion yuan on price fixing last month. Two other companies found guilty were exempted from the fines.

The Zhejiang insurance association, which was the organiser and planner of the price monopoly, was fined 500,000 yuan, while a penalty of 110.2 million yuan was imposed on the 23 insurers, which is equivalent to 1 per cent of their revenues from commercial vehicle insurance last year.

A fine of 20.7 million yuan was handed out to the Zhejiang branch of CPIC Property Insurance, while the local unit of Ping An Property Insurance was fined 15.99 million yuan and China United Property Insurance got a fine of 10.29 million yuan.

PICC Property & Casualty, the first company to report to the NDRC and submitted a report on the key evidence, was exempted.