China Life (LFC.NYSE, 601628.SH, 2628.HK), the country’s largest life insurer, posted a year-on-year net profit increase of 7.4% in the first half of 2010, the Wall Street Journal reported. While the figure of US$2.65 billion was higher than most analyst forecasts, some have suggested that part of this increase is due to a change in accounting rules this year which allows lower provision requirements for insurance policies. China Life’s principal competitor, Ping An Insurance (601318.SH, 2318.HK), posted a 27.9% year-on-year increase in net profit in the first half, though its strictly insurance business-related profit rose by a more modest 10%. Most of the increase came from the firm’s banking division, especially its newly-acquired stake in Shenzhen Development Bank (000001.SZ), which posted a 91% rise in profits.
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