The Shanghai (Pilot) Free Trade Zone is an area to watch for international insurers – and particularly for health and medical insurers. The FTZ was launched at the end of September 2013 with a promise to encourage the development of a number of industries, including foreign-invested health and medical insurance companies. Thus far, however, China’s insurance regulator (the CIRC) has yet to provide substantive regulations setting out exactly how this is to be encouraged and whether it will relax the regulatory requirements and caps on foreign investment that apply to foreign-invested health and medical insurers in China outside the FTZ.

The CIRC has issued a general statement of support for the FTZ. It has also relaxed requirements for establishing branches of Shanghai-based shipping insurance operations centres and reinsurance companies and  now permits the Shanghai Shipping Insurance Association to formulated shipping insurance clauses for use by its members without CIRC’s prior approval.