Chinese company launches marriage insurance for couples

An insurance product that costs 599 yuan (S$121) and guarantees a payout of 10,000 yuan if the applicant marries his or her current sweetheart in three to 10 years became a hot topic ahead of Tuesday's Chinese Valentine's Day.

The applicants are required to submit nonmarital status certificates for both prospective spouses when purchasing the product. If they get married within the specified time frame, they will get 10,999 yuan.

A woman surnamed Wang who works in the customer service department of China Taiping Insurance Holdings Co said there have been numerous phone calls lately inquiring about the product, but she declined to say how many policies have been sold.

Some people saw the offer as smart marketing.

"The price is no different from a regular gift I'd give to a girlfriend, but it may make the girl feel that it's a serious promise," said Xu Haoyou, a 26-year-old white-collar worker in Shanghai.

Some said that the companies can't lose on the deal because the majority of sweethearts will break up.

"The insurance company is using big data to tell us that less than 5.5 per cent of the sweethearts will finally become husband and wife," said a Sina Weibo user going by the name "From south to north".

Many shared the comment of Cai Mengsha, who believes the company set the bracket of years after making painstaking calculations.

"For those who have just fallen in love, it may take three years before they tie the knot, but there are abundant variables that influence a relationship in three years. For those who are in a stable relationship, they won't wait three years before getting married," said Cai, a 29-year-old Shanghai native.

Some people joked on the internet that they want a disguised spouse to win the money.

There are serious buyers, however, including Li Qiumeng in Chongqing, whose boyfriend will soon go to California for two years of graduate studies.

"No matter that the insurance finally turned out to be a lesson or reward, it shows our determination for love now," said Li, 26.

Relationships in big cities like Shanghai seem most fragile these days. Marriages are not lasting long. Nearly 53,000 people divorced in Shanghai in 2014-second only to Beijing-and 41,000 of those were below age 40. The average age for marriage in Shanghai is 34.5 for men and 32 for women.