China's private insurance sector is booming. As the nation's population gets older, commercial insurance has become a hot sector for investment, and some of China's biggest publicly traded companies are getting on board.
A typical morning at a Chinese insurance company. Inspirational words and music, a marketing director with New China Insurance, Jin Aili encourages her salesforce to sell insurance packages to future clients.
"If someone has a major illness, especially cancer, government insurance isn't always enough. So a lot of times, people decide to pay for insurance out of their own pocket. If a customer has insurance worth, for example 500 thousand yuan -- and he gets sick with a major illness, he won't have to show the hospital bills. He will automatically receive 500 thousand yuan. He can by all kinds of treatment with this money. There are no constraints," Jin said.
This customer has been buying private insurance for himself and his family since 1996.
"I've learned through my experiences overseas that insurance markets are really advanced in some developed countries. I have faith in New China Insurance. I've been a client for over 20 years. I've been watching it develop for years," Insurance customer said.
And there is still a lot of opportunity to grow. Luo Ying is the managing director of the Boston Consulting Group.
"Consumers have very low awareness of this product. We did the survey of 1000 consumers...about 20 percent answered they don't even know this kind of product exists. And we also interviewed...middle class, affluent people...they have very strong needs of this product, but they have no idea where to buy it," Luo said.
The idea of getting very insured doesn't seem to be something that's deeply rooted in the Chinese culture. People tend to have high banking savings, or reply on the help of their family members to mitigate their risks. But as the cost of living rises, and family sizes getting smaller, the dynamic is changing.
"The private healthcare insurance market has been developing at a lightening pace. In 2015, sales of private health insurance grew by 51 percent. In the first half of 2016, it grew over 100 percent. This is an amazingly, explosively positive story..." Roberta Lipson, CEO of United Family Healthcare, said.
When Mr. Tan Bo visited United Family Healthcare for an appointment, the company's representative already had his full medical history on hand.
"When people to the public hospital, usually it's a very long process. You wait in line several times, you may see the doctor for ten minutes or five minutes if you are lucky, sometimes its one minute check, then you go off doing some other things. If you have private health insurance...you can plan your daily schedule, you can call in advance, you can come here, you know you'll have a good 30 or 40 minutes with the doctors," Tan said.
China's developing insurance industry is helping to modernize the nation's health sector, making it more efficient and more tailored to patients' needs.