Smog Insurance Sales In China Cut Off After A Week

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On Thursday, Chinese regulators ordered the country’s two largest insurers to stop selling smog coverage, according to the South China Morning Post. The policies were just launched a week ago and offered another indicator of the outsized role suffocating air pollution is playing in the lives of many urban Chinese.

China’s insurance watchdog ordered People’s Insurance Company of China (PICC) and Ping An Insurance Group to stop selling coverage. PICC had promised to pay 1,500 yuan ($240) to policy holders that went to the hospital for smog-related conditions, it also said it would pay 300 yuan if the smog index in Beijing exceeded the hazardous 300 level for five consecutive days. However, according to the South China Post, even during severe smog bouts, 300 hazardous readings don’t usually last more than a couple days.

“Insurance is all about probability … the current unavailability of scientific data on smog weather and smog-related diseases make the product suspicious, [such as] whether its premium is set too high,” Hao Yansu, who heads Central University of Finance and Economics’ School of Insurance, told South China Morning Post. “It does look like a lottery to some extent, especially considering its low charge.”

The insurance companies declined to officially comment on why the policies were cancelled.

The Central Government has declared a “war on smog” as international companies like Panasonic have started offering air pollution hardship pay to workers stationed in China.