"Cash before cover" means that an insurance company is
barred from issuing any policy document until either the full
premium or the first instalment of the premium has been received.
It applies not only to new and renewed business, but also to
mid-term alterations of risk for which an additional premium is
Since 1 January 2008, the CIRC's Beijing office implemented
a local requirement that "cash before cover" should be
adopted for motor insurance business. The CIRC, on 30 June 2008,
promulgated the Notice on the Matters regarding Strengthening the
Management of Premiums Receivable of Insurance Companies
encouraging insurance companies to adopt the "cash before
cover" mechanism to control risks in relation to premium
receivables. Between the years 2008 - 2009, all the local offices
of the CIRC required insurance companies to adopt "cash before
cover" for motor insurance.
On 22 March 2011, the CIRC issued Key Issues of Supervision and
Management Work of Property Insurance 2011
This latest promulgation however does not put in a place a set of
rules on "cash before cover" that can be uniformly
applied nationwide but only requests the local CIRC offices to
extend the application of "cash before cover" mechanism
to non-motor insurance (e.g. enterprise property and agriculture
insurance etc). In fact, most local CIRC offices have already
broadened its scope to cover other types of property insurance.
As the local CIRC offices have the liberty to design their own
set of rules, which is only applicable to the province/city
concerned, the local "cash before cover" rules differ in
respect to the applicable types of insurance, exemptions and
effective date etc.
"Cash before cover" regulation in Shanghai
The CIRC's Shanghai office formally introduced "cash
before cover" rules for motor insurance business since 1
November 2008. The relevant "cash before cover" rules for
non-motor property insurance was recently promulgated on 25 March
2011 and came into effect on 1 June 2011. The Shanghai Insurance
Association is responsible for the implementation of the same.
Pursuant to the new rules, "cash before cover" further
applies to enterprise property insurance, engineering insurance,
guarantee insurance, liability insurance, hull insurance, family
and other property insurance, accident insurance, health insurance
and agriculture insurance. The two lines of insurance business that
have been explicitly excluded from the application are transport
insurance and export credit insurance. Any insurance product where
the premium is payable in foreign currency is also excluded.
Under the new rules, "cash before cover" applies to
all insurance purchased by individual policyholder notwithstanding
the amount of the premium. However, it applies to insurance
purchased by non-individual policyholder only when the premium is
RMB50,000 or less under a single policy for one type of insurance.
The new rules permit payment to be made in instalments where the
premium exceeds RMB50,000 under a single policy, in which case, the
premium should in principle be paid in three instalments with the
first instalment not lower than 40% of the total premium. The final
instalment should be paid three months before the expiry of the
insured period. The insurance company shall print and deliver the
policy only after the first instalment of premium has been duly
Last but not least, in situations where it is a coinsurance
business, only the leading insurer is subject to the new rules.
The "cash before cover" requirements may impact an
insurance company's business in various ways. For example, some
insurers already found it very difficult for their agents to
collect and hold insurance premium on their behalf. Some common
extension in relation to automatic coverage (such as automatic
coverage for new locations) may also no longer be applicable under
the new rules
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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