China’s insurance industry is faced with the biggest payout in its history following severe snowstorms that brought much of the country to a standstill leading up to and during the lunar new year, the Financial Times reported. Direct economic losses from the storms have already topped US$15.6 billion, and payouts on property, liability and car insurance claims are approaching US$150 million. Total insurance payouts are likely to exceed US$1.2 billion, the paper said, citing estimates released by China’s insurance regulator, which it later retracted without explanation. An official from the China Insurance Regulatory Commission said the amount would "increase significantly as time goes on," as it was too early to estimate the full impact of the storm. Hong Kong-listed PICC is expected to be the most affected by the weather, followed by Ping An Insurance and China Pacific Insurance.