Allianz China Life Insurance Company (AZCL) has been granted a preliminary license by the China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC) to set up a life insurance branch in Sichuan province.

Sichuan is the fourth province license awarded to the Allianz life joint venture in China and is the first to be established in the large emerging region of central west China. Allianz already operates in Shanghai, Guangdong and Zhejiang.

AZCL has now started its preparatory work for establishing the new region’s branch, which will be headquartered in Chengdu.

In view of the dynamics in economic development in western China, an early presence in Sichuan province is strategically important for AZCL as we want to be the leading international life insurer in China, commented Christian Molt, CEO of AZCL.

Allianz China Life has enjoyed a fast growth in 2006. Up to May 2006, the company’s gross written premiums had reached E37 million, a 550.7% increase compared to the same period in 2005. Allianz China Life is now ranks fourth amongst joint life insurance companies in China, second in both Shanghai and Zhejiang.