NU Online News Service, Oct. 22, 2003, 10:02 a.m. EDT – Chinese insurance regulators have given Sun Life Financial Services Inc., Toronto, permission to sell life insurance in Beijing through a joint venture, Sun Life Everbright Life Insurance Company Ltd.

Sun Life formed Sun Life Everbright with China Everbright Group Ltd., Beijing, in April 2002.

China Everbright is a government-owned financial services company with three publicly traded affiliates.

The Sun Life Everbright joint venture now has a field force of 2,500 agents in 16 sales offices. The company has been selling term life insurance, participating life insurance and critical illness insurance in Tianjin, a Chinese port city with a population of 10 million, for more than a year.

The Tianjin operation had attracted 30,000 local customers and generated the equivalent of about $7 million in premium revenue by May 31, according to China Everbright.

Earlier this month, MetLife Inc., New York, announced that it is seeking permission from Chinese regulators to sell life insurance in Beijing, a city with a population of 13 million, through a joint venture with Capital Airports Holding Company, Beijing.

Chinese regulators have reacted to China’s accession to the World Trade Organization by granting many operating licenses to foreign life insurers in recent months. The regulators have been encouraging foreign life insurers to start out in smaller markets before moving into the bigger markets.