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Migrant workers' personal accident & health insurance -- PICC

About the Project

Project Name: Migrant workers' personal accident & health insurance -- PICC
Type of Facility Project: Microinsurance innovation grantee
Country of Operation: China
Region: Asia and the Pacific
Sub Topics: Policy and regulation, Subsidies, Health, Life
Type of Risk Carrier: Regulated insurance company
Type of Distribution Channel: Government networks

Organizational Overview

Property and Casualty Company Limited (PICC) is a leading non-life insurance company in China. PICC was established in 1949 by the Chinese government as a nationwide wholly state-owned insurance company. Today, PICC remains a 61% state-owned enterprise. With more than 5,500 domestic branches, it provides a broad range of property and casualty insurance products, including accidental injury insurance and short-term health insurance.


Project Description

In March 2009 the Microinsurance Innovation Facility awarded an innovation grant to People's Insurance Company of China (PICC) to support the introduction of a migrant worker personal accident and health product and to learn about how to: Establish a more effective distribution channel Introduce a ‘locally insured, non-locally compensated’ system to improve portability of the policy Raise migrant workers’ awareness about and knowledge of insurance Collaborate with local governm...READ MORE


The project targets the internal migrant workers in China. In 2007, migrant workers were estimated to number around 210 million and have become a pillar of the country's work force. Less educated than other groups of workers, they tend to be more vulnerable and have difficulties realizing their legal rights to employment, medical care, a pension and education of their children. PICC aims to educate people on the use of insurance as a risk management tool and cover more than 900 000 lives by the end of the pilot project.


Learning Agenda

  • What are the risk management needs of migrant workers and their families? What is the value from the proposed product? What other products are in demand?
  • What is the most efficient and high-outreach sales channel for accident and health microinsurance for migrant workers in China?
  • What is the impact of consumer education on sales and renewal rates?
  • How can PICC effectively manage claims coming from a province other than where the policy was bought?

Project Status

Key Performance Indicators

The grant ran for 26 months. At June 2010 the following performance indicators were valid:


June 2010

Total policies


Total insured


Total premium


Total claims


Total active provinces


Project Updates
At the beginning of the project, PICC carried out market research using primary and secondary research methods. On the basis of this market research PICC developed a migrant worker personal accident and health product and decided to launch the product in two provinces, with an expansion to twelve provinces planned within three years.  There is significant variation in the socio-economic situation, culture, migrant worker characteristics and government support for migrant worker insurance...READ MORE

Project Lessons

On client value Claims data are an important indicator of client value. The number of claims made under PICC’s product was very low: two years after the project began there had only been a total of 249 claims from over a million clients. Lower than expected claims can be a useful proxy for low client value, whether resulting from low understanding of the product or from a failure to meet client needs. In this case, the data acted as a warning for PICC that...READ MORE
On the selection of sales channels and the implications The performance of sales channels should not be evaluated solely on the basis of scale. Government sales channels offer pros and cons which should be considered carefully. Government offices have easy access to census and migrant worker registration data, allowing them to cover large groups through a few policies. At least 70% of sales were attributed to government sales channels; this helped PICC achie...READ MORE
On adapting sales, claims and client education for migrants Sales methods for migrant workers must reflect that migrants may return to their home provinces only for a short time and infrequently. While PICC streamlined the application process to make it easier and quicker to access the policy, the fact remained that migrants could only buy the policy in their home village, to which they usually returned only once a year. PICC found that it was most often the...READ MORE
On regional variations When implementing a cross-province client education program, it is important to balance the need for consistency and flexibility. While PICC found that flexibility across provinces allowed each province to adapt the client education material to the local context, a lack of consistency across provinces created challenges in measuring impact and ensuring a basic level of understanding in all regions. From the beginning of the pro...READ MORE
On project management A pilot stage may be valuable for projects which aim to achieve significant scale rapidly. PICC’s project aimed to scale a new product rapidly, and challenges arose as it did so. The project may have benefitted from a stronger pre-launch phase.  For example, rigorous pilot testing and gathering client input on a prototype product could have supported earlier and more efficient product and process improvement, and helped to  ...READ MORE
Date of last update:  September 2012