A tourist scuba dives under the sea around Saipan, the northern Mariana Islands in the western Pacific Ocean. (Photo provided to China Daily)
Chinese tourists traveling overseas are having more accidents, but the severity is declining, according to an industry survey.
The Chinese Outbound Travel Risk Report, released on May 24 by Allianz Worldwide Partners－part of the Munich-based Allianz Group－and Peking University's research team, said the frequency of accidents during Chinese travelers' overseas trips will grow 2.5 percentage points in 2018 and 2019 to 29 percent in 2019.
Minor insurance claims are expected to rise, according to the report, which forecasts they will average 2,000 yuan ($311) to 2,500 yuan in 2018 and 2019.
The findings reflect an increase in the number of people traveling and baggage delays in recent years, as well as a lower number of claims relating to financial losses and medical services.
In the past 10 years, the number of outbound travelers from China has maintained rapid growth of 14.6 percent on average per year.
About 95 percent of outbound travelers are nonbusiness travelers.
Destinations have changed rapidly. Between 2008 and 2009, two thirds of outbound trips from the Chinese mainland were to the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions and Taiwan. But the ratio declined to less than half in 2016. Europe has become the top outbound destination after Asia for Chinese travelers, accounting for 10 to 15 percent of trips.
The report found that travelers are more likely to take out insurance for overseas trips than domestic trips.
In 2017, according to a survey by OpinionWay, more than 60 percent of Chinese travelers purchased insurance when going overseas, which is slightly lower than travelers in the United Kingdom, close to those in Australia but higher than other countries.
In the next three years, continuous growth of outbound travelers of between 3 to 4 percent and preferences for more distant destinations will contribute to the steady growth of new insurance products offering simpler procedures, wider protection and better services, according to the AWP report.
The types of insurance products favored by Chinese travelers are for medical and personal safety, with those for injury and health issues during the trip topping the list, followed by terrorist attacks, medical emergencies and repatriation, and loss of assets and passports.
About 91 percent of those surveyed by AWP said they would buy outbound travel insurance in the future.
The survey found that online insurance rose to 65 percent of market share in 2017, with the majority of consumers aged between 20 and 39 years of age.
The booming demand for outbound travel insurance offers opportunities for insurance service providers.
"Providing international travel and health services, AWP's travel business witnessed strong growth of 80 percent in 2017 in China and is expected to triple by 2020," said Christophe Aniel, CEO of Allianz Worldwide Partners China.
Aniel said the company's global reach and capacity will better protect those traveling overseas.