Beijing is the mainland's most heavily-insured city, with premium income nearly doubling last year, officials say. One year after introducing door-to-door sales of insurance policies, authorities yesterday said premium income in the capital jumped about 90.5 per cent last year to a record US$1.08 billion - the equivalent of $77 for every Beijing resident. Nationwide, mainlanders spend the equivalent of just $4 a year on insurance coverage. In a notice in the official Beijing Evening News , regulators attributed the insurance bonanza to a sharp increase in sales of low-cost life policies. 'Statistics show the insurance market is entering a new stage. Development has been sustainable and rapid,' the newspaper said. Life policies accounted for about three-quarters of insurance sold in Beijing last year, by official estimate, compared with 25 per cent of sales in 1995. Policies typically offer about $1,400 in coverage for $60 in yearly premiums, with the largest life insurance payout last year totalling $72,289 by the Taikang Life Insurance Co to the widow of a policy-holder killed in a Beijing traffic accident. The Evening News warned readers the brisk insurance trade had created 'some problems in the business', including high-pressure tactics by commission salesmen. 'After-sales service is too often inadequate, and the propaganda from insurance companies is occasionally misleading,' it said. State-owned People's Insurance Co (Group) of China, which reported national premium income of $9.49 billion last year, maintained a 70 per cent share of the Beijing market. Across the country, state planners have targeted premium income to more than triple to $36 billion a year by the turn of the century.