Swiss insurer Zurich Financial Services Group expects the mainland regulator to maintain tight restrictions on foreign insurers amid concerns over stability arising from the global financial turmoil. However, the existing mainland market share held by foreign insurers was not likely to see enforced changes, said Geoff Riddell, the chairman of the group's global corporate business and chief executive for Asia-Pacific and the Middle East. 'We would need something to go wrong before any change happens. The regulator is under no pressure to require change and I don't think there will be any major change in the foreseeable future,' he said. Foreign insurers commanded just 2 per cent of the general insurance market on the mainland last year, according to data from the China Insurance Regulatory Commission. The situation has barely changed since 2001, when Beijing began opening up the industry. In life business, foreign players are losing market share to their local counterparts and their share of premium incomes last month shrank to 6 per cent from 9 per cent at the end of last year. Analysts expect foreign insurers will find it increasingly difficult to capture additional market share as regulators demand a higher capital cushion to protect them from the economic downturn. 'In the past, the regulator was concerned that foreign rivals would take market share from their local competitors,' said Olive Xia, an insurance analyst at Core Pacific-Yamaichi International. 'Now they are more concerned about insurers' solvency. If overseas players continued to struggle with their own losses and bailouts, this will certainly impact on their expansion on the mainland.' Mr Riddell said that Zurich Financial would take a long-term perspective in expanding on the mainland, where economic growth is fuelling greater demand for insurance products than anywhere in developed markets.