During the weeklong International Labor Day break, China's latest bout of "holiday economics" generated a huge payoff for most Chinese business. Yet, the insurance market seems more desolate despite predictions of a boon season with so many tourists on the move.
The increase of travelers over recent years has encouraged more attention on the risk index and accidents in the tourism sector. Yet, travel insurance products are not well received. During last year’s National Day only 20 percent of travelers purchased insurance products through their travel agency.
Insufficient product variety is seen as the main reason. So far, clients only have limited product choices, such as travel protection, accidental life injury, and lodging tourist life insurance. This fails to meet the potential risks because of transportation safety, theft, robbery, and natural disasters. Tourists in developed countries enjoy more complete service and spend more in this regard.
In addition, many insurance companies in China only sell products to group clients such as travel agencies, delegations and units. For individual tourists no product is provided. Statistics show that 80 percent of tourists in China are self-served. Large parts of potential customers have no access to travel insurance.
Some insurance companies also complain that the awareness of insurance is lacking. "Some tourists often leave things to chance and are reluctant to buy insurance for their travel," said a Beijing insurance company manager. "They believe it is not necessary to pay for the insurance products just for a few day's travel."
The sales network for insurance products hasn't been formed yet in China, posing another inconvenience for the would-be buyers. Moreover, travel agencies lack initiatives in travel insurance products. Tourists can only buy products at the designated insurance companies, which hampers their enthusiasm.
(www.china.org.cn by Guo Xiaohong 05/15/2001)