regulators order end to smog insurance sales
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[March 27, 2014]
SHANGHAI (Reuters) —
Chinese regulators have told the country's two largest insurers to
stop selling coverage against smog, a week after such policies were
launched, the China Daily reported on Thursday.
The newspaper did not say why the country's
insurance watchdog had ordered People's Insurance Company of China (PICC)
and Ping An Insurance Group to cease sales of the coverage.
The country's worsening air quality is at the top of the list of
concerns of China's leaders, anxious to douse potential unrest as a
more affluent urban population turns against a growth-at-all-costs
PICC last week offered coverage to Beijing residents against health
risks caused by air pollution in the city, promising to pay 1,500
yuan ($240) to policy holders hospitalized by smog. It also said it
would pay 300 yuan if the city's official smog index exceeded the
hazardous 300 level for five consecutive days.
Ping An had partnered with an online travel agency to sell pollution
insurance to travelers that allowed them to get compensation of up
to 50 yuan per day if they spent at least two days in a smog-filled
Both firms said policies that had already been sold would be
honored, the China Daily reported.
Beijing's official air quality index (AQI), which measures airborne
pollutants including particulate matter and sulfur dioxide,
routinely exceeds 300, and sometimes hits levels higher than 500.
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The capital is on the frontline of a "war on pollution" that
Premier Li Keqiang declared earlier this month in a major policy
speech. Beijing is choked by traffic and surrounded by the big and
heavily polluted industrial province of Hebei.
($1 = 6.1781 Chinese yuan)
(Reporting by Fayen Wong; editing by Joseph Radford)
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