Hi there. It’s Brady again.
Mutual aid platforms were once hailed as the next phase of insurance in China. Bear with me, because there were good reasons behind that description. Simply put, these platforms pooled regular payments from their members, and then issued payouts to anyone who fell ill and had to deal with medical bills, as long as their ailments fell under the program’s scope.
It was an egalitarian model that offered a high degree of transparency. More importantly, it was efficient—a team of a few dozen people could offer a service that conventional insurance providers would need hundreds, sometimes more than a thousand people to manage. There were limits, and mutual aid platforms had a smaller scope of coverage than most conventional insurance products, but their practicality and affordable prices appealed to many users.
Those days are over. Xiang Hu Bao, which is offered by Ant Group and is the major platform of its kind, will be taken down on Friday. Read this as a part of stricter rules being put in place to rein in the operational capacity of tech companies. Also, major insurance providers might be breathing a self-consolatory sigh of relief.
Jiaxing had the story. You can check it out here.
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