[Worldwide InsurTech Star Vol.1] XiangHuBao, Disruptive P2P in China

While we introduced several types of overseas P2P insurance in the past (https://justincase.jp/blog/p2p_ins/), in this article, we will focus on the development of of P2P insurance in China, particularly the innovative mechanism and features of XiangHuBao (相互宝), a P2P product launched since October 2018.

What does P2P insurance mean?

Let’s briefly recap what is P2P insurance, the short form of Peer-to-Peer insurance. It is an insurance that applies the concept of sharing economy. Generally speaking, it has the following characteristics.

  • A group of individuals, who share similar insurance risk, pool premiums together
  • When there are insurance claims, the amount would be paid by the premium pool
  • When the insurance period ends (usually one year), if the amount of insurance claims is smaller than the amount of premium paid, the money balance in the pool will be returned as cashback or discount for the following year to the policyholders

Introduction of XiangHuBao and its distinctiveness

XiangHuBao is a P2P product offered to Alipay users who are gathered as a pool of members to mutually pay for claims of critical illness. Although it is free to join, only Alipay users whose Zhima Credit Score (https://b.zmxy.com.cn/index.htm?scene=alipay) , which is derived from factors including the usage of Alipay, consumption and payment records, activities of social network and so forth, is 650 or above are qualified to become a member.

Number of Members Joined

Since its launch on October 2018, the number of members has already succeeded 10 million in the first month. Alipay has announced that it aims to have over 300 million members in two years.

Claims Amount and Number of Claims

In terms of growth, the claims amount and number of claims increase exponentially compared to the number of members. Initially there was a handful of number of claims, likely due to the screening through eligibility requirement, disclaimer obligation as well as the Chinese New Year in February. As time goes by, an increasing trend is expected.

Distinctiveness

In the aspect of traditional insurance, conflict of interests exist between insurers and policyholders. Put it in a simple way, as profits for insurers = premiums – operating expenses – claims, the lower the insurance claims, the higher profits insurers could earn.

In the mechanism of XiangHuBao, when insurance claims is filed and confirmed, all the members are obliged to share the total payment of “insurance claims + management fees”. The portion of management fees are received by Alipay. In this case, as the number of claims increases, the profits for insurers increase accordingly, and thus the conflict of interests between insurers and policyholders is eliminated.

In addition, XiangHuBao also has other distinctive characteristics.

  • Since members are required to pay premiums only if claims occur, theoretically the risk of the amount of claims exceeding premiums in the pool does not exist
  • There is a maximum limit set on the amount of premiums to be paid by members, hence once that limit is reached, Alipay is obliged to pay the remaining amount of insurance claims
  • Members can surrender and cancel the policy at any times

Details of XiangHuBao

Enrollment Process

On the enrollment page, once “$0 to join” is clicked, Zhima Credit Score is checked automatically, after the confirmation of body health status, the enrollment is complete.

Transparency

Every time after the claims payment is settled, which occurs two times in a month, information including the number of members who have shared the claims payment, number of claims, the corresponding case details of claims ( basic information of insured, details of illness, claims amount etc) is disclosed to all Alipay users.

P2P Insurance Products in China

Besides XiangHuBao, there are also other P2P products found in China. In this section, we are going to briefly introduce TongJuBao and Shuidihuzhu, as well as comparing them with XiangHuBao.

TongJuBao

https://www.f6s.com/p2pprotect-tongjubao Year Established:2015 Parent Company:P2P Protect Coverage:Marriage Insurance, Ransom Insurance, ID Card Loss Insurance

  • A community is built and everyone is the community contributes premiums in a pool
  • Maximum cashback is 75% of the premium pool depending on the amount of claims
  • Uncertain about how the condition of claims exceeding premiums is handled (Perhaps claims would not be fulfilled)
  • If there are objections on claims results and if there are requests for new insurance coverage, policyholders can share their comments in the community and can initiate voting to advocate changes.

Shuidihuzhu

https://www.shuidihuzhu.com Year Established:2016 Parent Company:Shuidi Company Coverage:Cancer, Personal Accident

  • The company mission is to have all citizens protected by health coverage
  • 1 million members enrolled in the first 3 months, and the pool has officially been set up
  • After 3 years, the number of members has exceeded 70 million and over 3,000 people got insured
  • The enrollment can be done on WeChat or Shuidihuzhu’s app, and the enrollment fee only costs CNY9
  • Around four times every month, the submitted documents of every filed claim, including the details of illness, are disclosed for the members to review. Til now, the shared amount of claims paid by members cost less than CNY1.
  • The statement of pool balance is disclosed every 3 months

XiangHuBao

Year Established:2018 Parent Company:Ant Financial Coverage:Cancer, and other 98 types of critical illness

  • Only Alipay users, who also have Zhima Credit Score higher than 650, are allowed to enroll The enrollment is free.
  • In the first 6 months, the number of members has exceeded 50 million, targeted to be over 300 million in the following 2 years
  • Every 7th and 21st in a month are review dates, similar to Shuidihuzhu, every filed claim is open for members to review and members can raise opinions and make objections
  • Every 14th and 28th in a month are premium payment dates. the maximum limit of the payment for each member is CNY188 in a year and CNY0.1 for each claim, including the management fee charged by Alipay. If the maximum limit is reached, Ant Financial will bear the remaining amount.
TongJuBao Shuidihuzhu XiangHuBao
Coverage Marriage, Ransom, ID Loss Cancer, Personal Accident 99 types of critical illness including cancer
Year Established 2015 2016 2018
Parent P2P Protect Shuizi Company Ant Financial
Mechanism
  • Maximum cashback is 75% of the premium pool depending on the amount of claims, the rest of 25% are received by TongJuBao
  • No Cashback, yet members can cancel the policy at any time and receive the individual balance left in the pool
  • Shuizihuzhu has started to charge management fee since March 2019
  • There is an online platform called Shuidibao selling insurance online, which also belongs to Shuidi Company
  • Enrollment is free, premiums are paid after to settle the claims
  • Premiums can be paid by Alipay mobile payment, debit cards or other payment methods
  • Management fees are paid together with the claims
  • Members are free to surrender and leave the pool at any times
Credit Score Application No No Yes (Only open for users with Zhima Credit Score higher than 650)

Conclusion

In the “new” form of P2P insurance illustrated by XiangHuBao, The key success factor is the tremendous number of members. Not only could that benefit insurers from increasing management fees as number of claims increase, the amount of premiums paid by every member should potentially be smaller as well.

While P2P insurance has been widespread overseas, it is yet to be available in Japan. In China, XiangHuBao, such an innovative P2P product have been well accepted through the mobile payment platform, Alipay. In Japan, someday would similar products be also offered together with mobile payment service?

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AUTHOR著者
Elaine Tung/ イレイン

香港出身。外資系金融ソリューション会社に顧客担当として従事後、保険業界へ転身し、戦略企画や市場動向分析などに携わった。東京の日本語学校に留学しその後justInCaseに参画。趣味は、音楽鑑賞、旅行、筋トレ。CFA協会認定証券アナリスト。PRINCE2プロジェクトマネジメント プラクティショナー。
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