China’s top banking and insurance regulator said it would encourage insurers to accelerate the development of commercial pension products and accident insurance for gig-economy workers such as couriers and takeout deliverymen.

China has in recent years experienced a delivery boom powered by millions of couriers who work for companies such as Meituan Dianping and Alibaba’s to deliver packages and meal orders around the country.

While many customers laud such services for their speed and convenience, there has been a growing debate about the treatment of these deliverymen, who work under tight time pressures.

Many are not directly employed by the companies they act for, and it is difficult for them to get legal protection if traffic accidents occur.

China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission said in the guideline issued on Friday that it would also encourage insurance companies to provide more insurance to elders aged 70 and above.

The regulator also called for more efforts on launching medical insurance to cover children’s congenital heart disease and rare diseases. (Reporting by Zhang Yan and Ryan Woo; Editing by Jan Harvey)

Topics China