Pollution liability insurance plan gets government push

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China is quickening the pace of putting together its compulsory environmental pollution liability insurance implementation plan-and joint regulation and product designs could be key issues, experts said on Monday.

The China Insurance Regulatory Commission and the Ministry of Environmental Protection are stepping up the pace of drafting an implementation plan, CIRC Chairman Xiang Junbo said on Sunday.

Xiang said there are already 30 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities carrying out pilot projects for the plan.

The key areas the insurance projects cover include heavy industry, heavy metals, textiles and the chemical industries.

Wang Guojun, an insurance professor at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, said China had achieved good results in the pilot projects, and he looked forward to seeing the implementation plan soon.

"The mandatory environmental pollution insurance is significant for protecting the nation's environment, but product design could be complicated, which requires qualified actuaries and the input of risk control expertise," said Wang.

He also said that insurers should send consultants to companies to monitor their provisions for environmental protection.

Xiang Junbo also said on Sunday that insurers should not only receive an insurance fee and deal with settlement of claims but offer risk assessments and suggestions to companies.

For example, insurers had so far made an estimated 40,000 suggestions to almost 4,000 companies in Wuxi, Jiangsu province, Xiang said.

Hao Yansu, director of the School of Insurance at the Central University of Finance, said China should first have related laws and regulations on environmental pollution liability insurance and on joint regulation.

"Besides the China Insurance Regulatory Commission and the Ministry of Environmental Protection, more ministries and commissions, including the Ministry of Finance and the National Development and Reform Commission, should participate in the implementation plan and have joint regulation," said Hao.

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