Enriching Lives: A History of Insurance in Hong Kong, by Bangyan Feng

By Bangyan Feng

This is often the 1st complete heritage of Hong Kong's assurance undefined, and argues its vital significance within the economic system. Typhoons, shipwrecks, fires, wars, political turbulence and unforeseen occasions of all types offer a dramatic heritage to a desirable survey.

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Extra info for Enriching Lives: A History of Insurance in Hong Kong, 1841-2010

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The FIA’s secretary, A. R. 24 Hong Kong’s Insurance Industry in the First Half of the Twentieth Century The insurance industry kicked off the twentieth century at a low point. The civil war in China brought the end of the Qing Dynasty in 1911 and the beginning of prolonged turmoil on the Mainland. Disasters at sea were also rampant. In four short months during 1912 more than forty ships either disappeared or sank, including the Titanic on 14 April when more than 1,500 passengers were either killed or injured when it sank.

During Qing Dynasty’s waning years, transactions in Hong Kong accounted for at least 30% of China’s international trade. As more and more Americans and Europeans traded in China, the demand for insurance services grew apace. Foreign insurers and their agents flocked to the free-trade ports in pursuit of new business opportunities. Around this time, Chinese-owned banks and insurers began to compete head-to-head with the insurance subsidiaries controlled by big foreign firms, thereby cutting down historically lucrative margins.

At one time, the famous comprador Sir Robert Ho Tung sat on the consulting committee of both Hong Kong Fire and Canton Insurance, another insurance firm controlled by Jardine Matheson. Based on existing records, the first Chinese-controlled insurance firm was founded by a Shanghai trading firm with close ties to Jardine Matheson. Although that firm covered the 42 Enriching Lives Fig. 1 An illustrated promotional calendar by the Fook On Assurance & Godown Co. Ltd. The Establishment and Development of the Chinese-Owned Insurance Sector cargo shipments of Chinese firms and little else, it served to stir up some competition for the foreign insurers.

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