Zurich Financial Services Group has signed an agreement with Nan Kai University's department of risk management and insurance, based in Tianjin City, to launch a research project on the demand for micro-insurance products in China.

Zurich said that this research project is a concrete step in its efforts to expand its insurance coverage to the under-privileged population segment in China.

Zurich recognizes that there is a significant unmet need for insurance among the disadvantaged population in China. As such, a particular focus of the research will be on how insurance products can be tailored to meet the demand of Chinese low-income customers and which distribution channels can be used to provide micro-insurance products in an efficient way.

Zurich said that the findings of the research project will enable it to implement a systematic approach to address the needs of low-income customers in China, thereby promoting basic risk management principles and aiming to reduce poverty.

As part of Zurich’s strategy to strengthen its position in emerging markets the group is systematically expanding its presence in Greater China by leveraging its global operating platforms, building a multi-skilled team, and merging global expertise with local know how.

With its cross-regional approach to micro-insurance, and having been the first non-Chinese insurance provider to obtain its own general insurance branch license in Beijing, Zurich is in a good position to explore new business models and address a broader market base in China.