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Owen Caterer

Life Insurance Comparison Table

Posted on October 12, 2012 Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinrss
CHINESE VS FOREIGN INSURANCE FOR EXPATRIATES Insurance is something that is sometimes forgotten.  But before investing your family’s money, you first must cover the downside risks.  Few things are more down than an unexpected death.  We have written on life insurance before, on how much coverage you should consider, but we thought it is worth having a look at the relative cost of a few example providers and giving a quick explanation of the differences.


Domestic vs Foreign 

Chinese insurance, from an expatriate perspective suffers from a couple of weaknesses.  It needs to be in RMB, which isn’t likely to be the currency your wife/family will need, it is hard to impossible to find coverage for more than 2 million RMB and it is far more expensive than other options.  At least 40-60% more expensive and it is also usually written on an annual renewal basis.  This means if you get sick in December your insurance company might decide not to offer you coverage in January when you renew.  That’s not much of a safety net.

Chinese life insurance is the only insurance that can be legally sold here in China, so we work with partners in China to assist our clients.  For offshore we have partners outside of China that can ensure our clients get the best deal.

So overseas it is? 

Chinese coverage can be a good fit if you are a heavy smoker (no penalties in China for some reason) and don’t mind receiving RMB since your family and debts are here.  Otherwise overseas based insurance is often the better option and can be written offshore for most expatriates that can cover them almost regardless of where they live.  Iraq and Afghanistan are out in case you are wondering.  It can also be quite cost competitive as the following table shows.  For Australians and Kiwis we worth with a Australian based partner that can get them access to coverage that is even cheaper making the decision even easier.

Life Insurance Comparison Table????????????

Male Non-Smoker 35 – Monthly Cost
Coverage  Chinese1 Offshore2  Aussie/Kiwi Option3
 $500,000  $132  $90  $46
 $1 M  NA  $177  $75
 $1.5 M  NA  $265  $110


Male Non-Smoker 40 – Monthly Cost
Coverage  Chinese1 Offshore2  Aussie/Kiwi Option3
 $500,000  $192  $141  $60
 $1 M  NA  $280  $105
 $1.5 M  NA  $420  $158


Male Non-Smoker 45 – Monthly Cost
Coverage  Chinese1 Offshore2  Aussie/Kiwi Option3
 $500,000  $320  $219  $98
 $1 M  NA  $435  $175
 $1.5 M  NA  $651  $260


So who should get coverage?

  • If you recently got married or started a family.
  • If you have loans or debts like a mortgage.
  • If you have a business (who can really run it like you can?)

It would be irresponsible to do anything less.  Contact us so we can understand your needs and compile quotes from our various partners.

Is $100 a month too much to pay to ensure your family is safe for the future?  Contact us to organize a personalized quote.





  1. Chinese Life Insurance is in RMB, but these numbers are in USD based on 6.3 exchange rate to allow easy comparison.Quotes are usually the same for smokers with most Chinese insurers whereas offshore there is a considerable cost increase.
  2. Offshore Life Insurance quotes are in USD and assume a term of 25 years with level premiums and are available to people from most countries.
  3. Aussie/Kiwi insurance options, both coverage and premium are in AUD which today is close to parity with the USD so provide easy comparison.Term for all quotes provide level (ie fixed) premiums until age 65.

Important Disclaimer: The quotes above are for general information purposes are not guaranteed since they can also vary on nationality, gender, occupation and health history so can be only used as a general guide.  Also note that it is not legal to sell offshore or Australian life insurance in China so we partner with brokers who are based and operate outside of China.




About Caterer Goodman Partners
Caterer Goodman Partners is a Shanghai based wealth management firm established with a clear vision to provide a new level of personalized financial planning services for expatriates in Asia. Our financial advisors provide guidance for our clients in all areas of investment, specialising in managed accounts, money-market funds, retirement planning and alternative investments. At Caterer Goodman Partners, we offer our advice and experience to provide low cost, tax-effective and simple solutions to match our clients’ interests.

About Owen Caterer
Since graduation Mr Owen Caterer has worked with the Queensland Premier's Department in Trade Facilitation and then as a financial adviser in Shanghai from 2005 until 2010.  He then rose to Senior Adviser, then Business Development manager and then to Chief Investment Officer responsible for portfolios to a value of US$280 million across Asia. Following that Mr Caterer left to found his own firm with a partner in the financial advisory and wealth management area.   This focused on developing China and Asia's first fee-based financial advisory (rather than commission-based). This has grown to now have 8 staff and and managing almost US$35 million for clients throughout Asia. This business success was recognized as a finalist in the 2013 ACBA in the Start Up Enterprises category and are one of a small number of foreign managed firms to have a full asset management license in China.  Owen has also been active in the community volunteering for the Australian Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai and acting as the Vice-Chair of the Small Business Working Group (2012-2014) and as the Co-Deputy Chair of the Financial Services since 2013 until the present. They have continued to grow their business and have now been selected as a small group of companies who are platinum members of the Australian chamber of commerce. The achievement they are most proud of is their efforts to reform the financial planning industry in China and push it away from a hard-sales commission driven model to a more ethical management fee and long term customer service model.   Owen has a Graduate Diploma of Applied Finance from the Securities Institute of Australia of which he was a member as a Fellow of Finance for many years and also has an undergraduate degree from Griffith University in International Business.  Owen's interests are tennis, running and his wife and two children.  He speaks fluent Chinese, first arriving in China in 1997.
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