BUSINESS Insurance sector hit by Hong Kong unrest

BUSINESS

Insurance sector hit by Hong Kong unrest

Global Times

01:27, August 07, 2019

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(Photo: IC)

Representatives of Hong Kong's financial sector, including insurance companies, are expressing deep concern about rising unrest in the city and calling for the restoration of order to avoid an erosion of investors' confidence in local economic growth.

"The revenue of our department plunged 20 percent year-on-year in July, which is supposed to be a peak season in the insurance sector," Wendy, a senior manager of an insurance company located in Harbour City in Hong Kong, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

"My personal performance in July dropped 70 percent year-on-year," Wendy said. "If the unrest persists, I will definitely miss this year's target."

She said that four out of five consultancy appointments were cancelled recently by customers from the Chinese mainland, which never happened before.

Nicole Lu, a Hong Kong-based insurance agent and a member of the Million Dollar Round Table, told the Global Times that her customers have shown concern and some have decided to postpone plans to purchase insurance policies in Hong Kong.

"Only a small group of people is trying to separate Hong Kong from the motherland and those violent protestors cannot represent Hongkongers as a whole," Lu said.

Clients of insurance companies usually buy policies when they travel to the city. A Beijing resident surnamed Li told the Global Times that she abandoned plans to buy insurance policies in Hong Kong and switched to local companies. "I won't risk my safety for substitutable services, even if their products are better," she said.

"As a vital pillar of Hong Kong's economy, the financial services sector has taken a big hit from the continuous chaos," Cong Yi, a professor at the Tianjin University of Finance and Economics, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

A stable and law-abiding community is the foundation for development of the services sector. Continuous chaos will not only hurt services but also damage the whole economy, and that can't be reversed in a short time, Cong noted.

Violent crimes including attacking police and defaming national flags should be punished as soon as possible, Wendy, the insurance agent, said. She added that most residents of Hong Kong would not surrender and will continue to lead normal lives and continue working, since radical protestors are trying to damage local residents' livelihoods by paralyzing transportation systems and other disruptions.

According to a government news site of Shanghai, pudong.gov.cn, Swire Coca-Cola, whose revenue was HK$40 billion ($5.1 billion) in 2018 and is one of the world's largest bottling partners of Coca-Cola, announced it would move its headquarters for China operations from Hong Kong to Shanghai on Thursday.

"It sent a signal to Hong Kong society," Cong said. People will lose their confidence in Hong Kong's economic development if the radical protests continue.

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