Feb. 8 (NBD) -- The Nasdaq-listed Chinese internet giant Sina Corporation (Sina) officially announced its foray into the insurance sector on Monday, following Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu. The company will join forces with its subsidiary Xingmin Insurance Brokers Ltd. (Xingmin Insurance), to sell insurance products.

Sina rushing to cash in on its traffic 

Xingmin Insurance was set up in January 2017, upon the appraval of the China Insurance Regulatory Commission, to engage in the insurance brokering businesses, providing loss prevention, risk evaluation, risk management and other insurance-related services. 

In theory, an insurance platform can sell any legal insurance product, once it has acquired the license. While at this stage, short-term accident insurance, low-priced medical insurance and critical illness insurance are the most popular on the Internet.

A mid-level manager at the insurance company said only certain types of insurance are suitable for online sales, in particular, those which involve the easy process of underwriting. For example, accident insurance, in which one’s physical condition need not be taken into consideration.

NBD noticed that internet giants are rushing into the insurance sector, hoping to cash in on the Internet traffic they already own. During the past two years, Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu have all got their admission ticket into this sector either through setting up new insurance companies or acquiring existing ones. 

Selling insurance online and in brick-and-mortar store share the same rule

Internet companies can engage in insurance businesses either through online advertising or online selling. The industry insider mentioned above said there is little room to be explored in traditional online insurance advertising. However, the market would be huge if they sell insurance products on their own platforms.

According to Sina's financial results for the third quarter of 2017, last September, the number of monthly active Weibo users totaled 376 million and daily active users 165 million. They are all potential buyers.

However, without quality products and services to meet clients' needs, firms can't sit easy on their huge traffic.

The industry insider explained that in fact, selling online and selling in brick-and-mortar stores share the same philosophy, the products have to meet customers' needs. The insurers who offer suited insurance products and higher claim settlement in an effective manner will win the market in the end.

Sina launched insurance products for travel and broken screens, which are products customized for Weibo users for the first time. Users can query and buy such insurances through Weibo Wallet. In the future, the company is said to offer more insurance products especially tailored for the post-80 and post-90 generations, Sina News reported. 


Email: tanyuhan@nbd.com.cn