Chinese app Toutiao relaunches insurance products

Toutiao, a news aggregator app run by Bytedance Technology, notified its users on July 18 that a broad range of insurance products can now be purchased again online through the app.

According to a report from Asia Times, the Beijing-based company is set to launch a variety of new insurance products that are not only limited to its previous partner, Taikang Insurance Group. Instead, other insurance products, including those from Asia-Pacific Property & Casualty Insurance, Allianz China Life Insurance, and other related companies, will now be available on the app, the report added.

In January of 2019, Toutai took down all the health insurance products it had on sale, including those from Taikang Online Property and Casualty Insurance. According to Taikang, the delay of the sales stemmed from its joint aim with Toutiao to enhance user experience; thus, the need to postpone the sales until a sufficient investigation had been completed.

The recent announcement of Toutai’s relaunch of insurance products has been raising doubts from the public since it is not clear yet whether it is legal for insurance companies to put their products on sale using mobile applications. In 2017 and 2018, Toutiao has received penalties for hosting a comic mocking a Communist martyr and for hosting “vulgar” content on its platform.

Compared to the one they introduced last January, the comprehensive medical and critical illness insurance product by Taikang now presents different upper limits, with the maximum coverage now down to half to 3 million Chinese yuan if a malignant tumor was diagnosed.

Moreover, the terms and conditioned presented under Asia-Pacific Property & Casualty Insurance’s travel insurance have also been reported to be ambiguous.

With these factors, authorities are highly encouraging customers to read the terms and conditions of the products thoroughly before purchasing any insurance offer.