Hong Kong investors' appetite for yuan-denominated life insurance policies is expected to increase after sales of such products almost doubled in the first nine months of last year, insurance industry representatives said. Total premiums from the sale of yuan-denominated policies reached 6.9 billion yuan (HK$8.77 billion) in the first nine months of 2013, up 99 per cent from the same period the year before, according to government statistics. The figures show that new premiums on yuan-denominated insurance policies represented 12.8 per cent of total new premium during the period. Chan Kin-por, legislator for the insurance sector, said sales of yuan insurance policies grew strongly last year because more insurers introduced the products after Beijing relaxed the rules for investing in mainland bond and stock markets. Since 2009 China has encouraged more international use of the yuan for trade settlement and investment. "Last year [Beijing] expanded the RQFII [renminbi qualified foreign institutional investors] scheme to allow more Hong Kong insurance companies to invest in mainland markets," Chan said. "This enabled them to launch yuan insurance policies." Choy Chung-foo, insurance business adviser for the Bank of China (Hong Kong) said: "Yuan insurance products are not a marketing gimmick or short-term phenomena. It has been become a trend of the Hong Kong insurance market." Choy said the policyholders who brought the five-year yuan policies in 2009 will see their policies mature this year, and also profit from the 10 per cent appreciation in value of the yuan against the Hong Kong dollar. "This track record would encourage more to buy yuan policies," he said. "In addition, China is expected to have strong economic growth in the following years and the yuan is going to be more frequently used in the international world. This would support the yuan and hence attract [more] investors to buy into yuan policies," he added. Haitong International Investment Managers managing director Ben Zhang Yibin said his firm has plans to introduce more yuan denominated fund products in Hong Kong to meet the strong investor demand. The company was the first local fund house to introduce an offshore yuan bond fund in 2010. "We have seen strong investor demand for yuan bond funds and we expect yuan products will continue to be popular," Zhang said. He added that Haitong would increase the number of Hong Kong domiciled funds to take advantage of the soon-to-be signed mutual recognition agreement which allow cross-selling between Hong Kong and the mainland.