Hong Kong-listed Insurers See Choppy Trading Session Amid Virus Fears

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By Alex Ho

Investing.com – Hong Kong-listed insurers saw some volatile trading sessions in February amid fears of economic fallout resulting from the coronavirus outbreak.

Shares of Ping An Insurance (HK:), China Life Insurance and AIA Group Ltd (HK:) fell more than 5% at one point earlier this month before rebounding today as unconfirmed reports said a breakthroughs in the development of a drug might be near.

On Thursday, Bloomberg cited a team of more than 100 agents working for an unnamed insurer and said sales to mainland visitors “plummeted to almost nothing” since late January.

The group only made HK$100,000 ($12,880) in first-month premiums, compared to about HK$5 million in the same month last year, the article said.

“Hong Kong’s protests were nothing compared with the blow of the virus to us,” one of the sources said. “This is the worst I have ever seen.”

Some analysts are less pessimistic and believe the virus’ impact on insurers are likely to be “manageable.”

Fitch Ratings said in a note in late January that it “expects the recent outbreak of novel coronavirus infections to put some pressure on Chinese insurers’ profitability in the near term, but that earnings pressure will be manageable.”

Meanwhile, Nomura also said that direct claim losses for insurance companies will be manageable.

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