Chubb Ltd. has increased its investment in one of China’s major insurers, reflecting a deeper commitment to penetrating the market there.

Chubb said it would purchase another 15.3 percent of Huatai Insurance Group Company Ltd., a property/casualty and life insurer, which will bring its total ownership up to 46.2 percent once the share purchase is complete. This follows approval from the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission last week regarding unrelated share purchases, which brings Chubb stake to just under 31 percent upon closing.

Chubb Chairman and CEO Evan Greenberg said that Chubb eventually hopes to hold a majority stake in Huatai.

“We are committed to supporting Huatai as a long-term strategic shareholder, and we have great confidence in the long-term potential of the Chinese insurance market,” Greenberg said in prepared remarks. “We are builders at Chubb, and our increasing stake in Huatai is an opportunity to build a great Chinese insurance company that will meet the growing protection needs of Chinese consumers and businesses.”

Huatai Insurance Group became the first domestic Chinese financial services holding company to convert to a Sino-foreign equity joint venture, Greenberg also noted.

Huatai Insurance Group is the holding company of Huatai P&C Insurance Company, Huatai Life Insurance Company and Huatai Asset Management Company, among other subsidiaries. Huatai Group’s insurance operations have more than 600 branches and 11 million customers, Chubb said.

Chubb will purchase the shares from the Inner Mongolia Junzheng Energy and Chemical Group Co. Ltd. and one of its wholly owned subsidiaries. The parties have also agreed to the subsequent purchase of an additional 7.1 percent of the company, contingent upon the completion of the first purchase. The transactions are subject to regulatory approvals and other important conditions.

Chubb notes its history in China dates back to 1792 when a legacy company—the Insurance Company of North America (INA)—began providing protection to the pioneers of trade between the United States and China. In 1897, INA appointed an agent in Shanghai and started to officially conduct business in China.

Source: Chubb