In a high-profile double hire life China Pacific Insurance Group, together with the Carlyle Group (which has a 25% stake in CPICÆs subsidiary China Pacific Life Insurance) have appointed Patrick Poon as chairman of the operation committee, and David Wolf as executive deputy general manager of CPIC Life.

Poon, an industry veteran who was Hong KongÆs first ever qualified actuary, will chair the committee which oversees day-to-day operations and management. He is expected to help the company improve its actuarial functions, risk management and sales and marketing. Wolf will focus on operational efficiency and risk management.

PoonÆs credentials were burnished during his time heading up INGÆs overall operations in Taiwan. During that time, he helped ING build up its life insurance industry from scratch. WolfÆs previous appointment was as SVP of Gibraltar Life Insurance in Japan, a wholly owned subsidiary of Pamerica Finanical. Wolf æplayed an important roleÆ in the acquisition of bankrupt Kyoei Life Insurance by Pramerica. Kyoei was subsequently renamed Gibraltar.

China Pacific Life is the third-largest life insurance company in China, behind China Life and Ping An Life. The three companies control 95% of the life insurance market in China.

Most foreign companies in China involved in insurance are choosing to invest in life insurance rather than non-life, since they estimate that the lack of a formal social security network will drive stronger growth. ItÆs also believed life is less susceptible to fraud than non-life.

But after a strong performance in the early years of the sectorÆs opening up in the 1990s, growth is beginning to slow on the back of increasingly fierce competition, ethical problems with the industryÆs sales force, and a lack of investment options in ChinaÆs troubled capital markets.