The introduction of business insurance protection will allow sharing economy platforms in China to flourish, according to industry specialists.
Since assets in the sharing economy are fragmented—as they are owned and shared among various parties—many sharing economy platforms in China are considering whether or not to provide business insurance solutions for their services so that consumers can feel more confident in adopting sharing services, reports China Daily. One example is the bicycle-sharing industry.
A survey by global business insurance specialist Lloyd's revealed that 81% of Chinese consumers would be more comfortable using sharing economy services if insurance was offered, and 78% would be more likely to consider sharing or offering a service if insurance was offered. Around 82% of Chinese providers believe they would get more customers if insurance was provided.
The survey polled 2,000 consumers from the United States, 1,000 people from the United Kingdom and 2,000 respondents from China. It also surveyed representatives from 30 sharing economy companies.
Chinese consumers appeared somewhat more optimistic, with 68% of those surveyed believing that sharing economy platforms bestow greater benefits than risks. Generally speaking, 52% of respondents cited concerns over personal safety, followed by quality of service and damage to assets (both with 42%), theft (40%) and lack of sufficient safeguards if something goes wrong (38%), the Lloyd's report added.
"Many consumers and service providers say they will make much more use of sharing economy platforms if the services are insured regardless of who provides the insurance," Lloyd's Chief Commercial Officer Vincent Vandendael told China Daily in an interview.
"Insurance removes uncertainty and creates a more certain environment for consumers and providers, which will help grow the sharing economy significantly," Mr Vandendael added.
The market value of China's sharing economy sector grew 30% to reach CNY4.5 trillion ($680 billion) last year and is expected to maintain annual growth of about 40% over the next few years, according to the State Information Centre, a think tank affiliated with the National Development and Reform Commission.