Watching the World Cup can be huge fun but also prove hazardous for die-hard fans. And it can provide the chance to win or lose a little cash for those fans who like to wager. China’s got plenty of both, and that has motivated its insurance companies to come up with some novel policies—not all of them welcomed by Chinese regulators.
On Thursday the China Insurance Regulatory Commission ordered an end to what is said were thinly disguised online gambling services masquerading as insurance policies. One immediate victim of the new rule: the “World Cup regret” insurance, which had been offered by Chongqing-based Ancheng Property & Casualty Insurance.
Those holding that policy had been able to get a tidy return if they predicted correctly which teams would be eliminated (a 49-yuan ($7.88) payoff from an 8-yuan policy, for calling it right). But by Wednesday, Ancheng had stopped selling the product on Alibaba Group’s Tmall.com, Huang Xiao, the general manager of the company’s e-commerce business, told China Daily today. He declined to say whether the halt was due to government restrictions.
Other World Cup-related insurance products aimed at the special hazards facing extreme fans are still for sale. “Drunk” insurance is still available on Tmall by Shanghai-based Zhong An Insurance. It helps those soccer lovers who happen to imbibe too much. For a 3-yuan ($0.48) policy, one is covered if he or she gets blotto: 200 yuan is provided for an emergency call, and 2,000 yuan if a hospital visit is necessary.
“Night owl” insurance, also for 3 yuan and offered by Zhong An, covers emergency expenses for those who get acute respiratory infections. With most of the games showing after midnight in China, fans indeed must stay up late—how that might lead to a respiratory infection is less clear. And then there’s “soccer hooligan” insurance, for those who get robbed or perhaps end up on the wrong side of a brawl during the late hours of the games.