HONG KONG and SHANGHAI, April 29, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Ping An Insurance (Group) Company of China, Ltd. (hereafter "Ping An of China," "Ping An," the "Company" or the "Group," HKEX: 2318; SSE: 601318) today announced its first quarter financial results for the three months ended 31 March 2022.
Global capital markets experienced substantial volatility in a complex and severe international environment where the COVID-19 pandemic continued and a geopolitical conflict broke out in the first three months of 2022. Domestic economic growth faced three headwinds, namely shrinking demand, supply chain disruption, and weakening expectations amid sporadic COVID-19 outbreaks. Facing challenges, Ping An adhered to the business policy of "focusing on financial business, introducing reforms and innovations, increasing revenue and reducing expenditure, and ensuring compliant business operations." Ping An pressed firmly ahead with Ping An Life's quality-oriented reform and transformation, continuously strengthened the advantages of integrated finance, and built the "HMO managed care model." Ping An laid a solid foundation for long-term sustainable, healthy growth by delivering "heartwarming financial services" and providing customers with "worry-free, time-saving, and money-saving" experience.
Thanks to the synergies and resilience of the integrated finance strategy, Ping An empowered its main financial businesses with ecosystems and gradually yielded results. The Group continued to deepen its Life & Health reform and transformation, strengthened its core competitiveness, and achieved steady business results. Ping An's operating profit attributable to shareholders of the parent company rose 10.0% year on year to RMB43,047 million in the first three months of 2022. Net profit attributable to shareholders of the parent company decreased 24.1% year on year to RMB20,658 million mainly due to volatile capital markets. Basic operating earnings per share rose 11.3 % to RMB2.46. Customer development continued to yield greater results. Ping An's retail customers grew 0.7% from beginning of the year to over 223 million as of March 31, 2022. Contracts per customer grew 1.0% from the beginning of the year to 2.94. The Group's internet users increased 1.6% from the beginning of the year to over 657 million as of March 31, 2022. The number of yearly active users exceeded 345 million as of March 31, 2022. Written premium of the corporate channel achieved through cross-selling increased 28.2% year on year and new financing scale achieved through corporate business cross-selling increased 9.0% year on year to RMB192,969 million in the first three months of 2022.
Life & Health advanced reform and transformation. Property & Casualty maintained good business quality. The banking and asset management business increased steadily.
Ping An Life unswervingly advanced its reform and transformation and constantly upgraded its products and services. The operating profit of Life & Health rose 16% year on year to RMB29,678 million. NBV of Life & Health fell 33.7% year on year to RMB12,589 million in the first three months of 2022 due to the agent force adjustment, product mix change, spread of pandemic, and the high base in the first quarter of 2021. Nevertheless, the decline significantly narrowed in March. Ping An Life adhered to its original aspiration of reform, and advanced the quality-oriented transformation via its two-pronged "channel + product" strategy to build a solid foundation for long-term healthy development. In terms of channels, Ping An Life refined the tiered management of its agent force to optimize the team structure. The proportion of agents with a college education background and above rose 3.5 pps year on year as of March 31, 2022. The bancassurance channel continuously built the professional operations framework of "channel + product + technology." Ping An Life continuously deepened cooperation with Ping An Bank to build an exclusive product suite, share training resources, and accelerate the development of Ping An Bank's Private Wealth Advisers whose contributions are increasing. Ping An Life actively explored innovative channels including the Community Grid channel and the Lower-tier Market channel to facilitate multi-channel development. Ping An Life successfully piloted the Community Grid channel in cities including Shanghai, Shenzhen and Shenyang as of March 31, 2022, and also initiated and promoted pilots at eight more cities. The 13-month persistency ratio of "orphan policies" improved sharply year on year. Ping An promoted the intelligent operation through multiple channels. As of March 31, 2021, the intelligent operation had been promoted in 65% of the business units through the agent channel. In respect of products, Ping An Life increased the supply of competitive products to meet customer demands. Ping An Life created differentiated advantages with three core services, namely "insurance + health management," "insurance + high-end elderly care," and "insurance + home-based elderly care," by leveraging the Group's healthcare ecosystem. In the first quarter, more than one third of the NBV was contributed by the three core services. For example, Ping An Life launched a whole life insurance product named "Sheng Shi Jin Yue" in the first quarter of 2022. This product was widely recognized by customers for its unique advantages.
Ping An Property & Casualty maintained good business quality with steady growth in its written premium. Ping An P&C's premium income increased 10.3% year on year to RMB73,018 million in the first three months of 2022. Premium growth returned to normal as the cyclical impact of the auto insurance pricing reform ended. Overall combined ratio rose 1.6 pps year on year to 96.8% due to rising claims of the guarantee insurance business amid the COVID-19 pandemic. That said, overall business quality remained good and risks under control due to enhanced business management and risk screening. "Ping An Auto Owner," the most popular automotive service app in China, had over 153 million registered users as of March 31, 2022, with over 97 million vehicles linked with the app. Ping An P&C launched contact-free fast tracks for auto insurance claims in pandemic-stricken regions. 91.1% of Ping An P&C's family auto insurance claims were processed via "One-click Claims Services" in the first three months of 2022. Ping An P&C also launched the "Fast, Easy, and Free" claims services to cut the number of documents required for small-amount claims, helping small and micro-businesses enhance their risk resistance capacity against COVID-19.
Ping An Bank maintained stable business growth and asset quality. Revenue grew 10.6% year on year to RMB46,207 million and net profit grew 26.8% year on year to RMB12,850 million in the first three months of 2022. Non-performing loan ratio remained unchanged from the beginning of the year at 1.02 % and provision coverage ratio rose 0.68 pps from the beginning of the year to 289.10% as of March 31, 2022. The average cost of deposits was 2.05%, down 0.01 pps year on year. Ping An Bank further advanced its retail business transformation. The retail assets under management ("AUM") rose 5.6 % from the beginning of the year to RMB3,360,669 million as of March 31, 2022. Retail customers increased 1.6% from the beginning of the year to approximately 120,097,500, among which wealth management customers increased 6.1% from the beginning of 2022 to approximately 1,166,500. The balance of retail deposits increased 9.0% from the beginning of the year to RMB 839,575 million. The balance of retail loans grew 0.2% from the beginning of the year to RMB 1,913,471 million.
Ping An continued to improve the asset allocation of its insurance fund investment portfolio to withstand market volatility. The Company's insurance fund investment portfolio grew 4.6% from the beginning of the year to nearly RMB4.10 trillion as of March 31, 2022. The investment portfolio of insurance funds achieved an annualized net investment yield of 3.3% and an annualized total investment yield of 2.3% in the first three months of 2022 as a result of the fluctuations in stock market.
Net profit of the asset management business grew 10.5% year on year to RMB 2,914 million in the first three months of 2022. Ping An Securities and other asset management business achieved steady growth.
Ping An continued to develop technology business steadily and accelerated the implementation of its healthcare ecosystem strategy. The synergies between insurance business and healthcare ecosystem improved customer experience.
Ping An continued to further its technology strategies, enhanced its technological capability and developed its technology business steadily. The technology patent applications increased by 2,048 from the beginning of the year to 40,468 as of March 31, 2022, more than most other international financial institutions'.
Ping An empowered financial services with technology to promote sales, improve efficiency and contain risks. AI service representatives provided services more than 580 million times in the first three months of 2022, covering a series of services including lending, credit cards, and insurance. The AI Customer Visit Assistant facilitated a monthly average of 2.36 hours of interactions per agent with existing and potential customers in the first three months of 2022, an increase of 55% year on year. Ping An Property & Casualty leveraged AI robot assistants to reform traditional operational models and streamline operational processes. 75% of policies were issued through self-service in March 2022. Ping An Bank improved fraud risk identification and interception technology to protect customers from financial losses through building intelligent systems. Ping An Bank's Smart Anti-fraud System (SAFE) prevented various types of frauds involving an amount of RMB346 million in the first three months of 2022.
Ping An accelerated the implementation of healthcare ecosystem strategy and empowered main financial businesses to improve customer experience. The Company offered customers with one-stop "worry-free, time-saving, and money-saving" services covering health, chronic disease, disease and eldercare management via its world-leading healthcare ecosystem. Ping An's healthcare ecosystem partnered with all top 100 hospitals and 3A hospitals and nearly 203,000 pharmacies in China as of March 31, 2022. Ping An Smart Healthcare cumulatively served 187 cities and over 54,000 medical institutions, and empowered approximately 1.38 million doctors as of March 31, 2022. Ping An's dedicated family doctors provide healthcare services by connecting "online, in-store, and home-delivered" service networks. Ping An achieved a 60-second connection rate of 99.9% in online services, and realized 24/7 active management. Ping An enhanced its strategic offline presence in the healthcare industry by integrating PKU Healthcare's excellent resources into Ping An's healthcare ecosystem. The Company had 14 health management centers as of March 31, 2022. Over 65% of Ping An's over 657 million internet users used services from the healthcare ecosystem as of March 31, 2022. Over 64% of Ping An's over 223 million retail customers used services from the healthcare ecosystem as of March 31, 2022.
As an integral part of the Group's "HMO managed care model," Ping An Health effectively reaches potential users under the fees-based "basic benefit packages + individual value-added services" model. Starting with members' dedicated family doctors, Ping An Health covers five healthcare scenarios, namely health, sub-health, disease, chronic disease, and elderly care management. Capitalizing on its online-to-offline (O2O) service network, Ping An Health has developed an online-merge-offline "medical + healthcare" services platform to provide users with high-quality and more convenient healthcare services. With its strong commitment to sustainable development, Ping An Health's MSCI ESG rating had risen to A, ranking among the best in the healthcare industry as of 31 March, 2022.
Lufax Holding is one of the leading technology-empowered personal financial services platforms in China. Ping An Puhui, a controlled subsidiary of Lufax Holding, rolled out an innovative AI-powered loan solution named Xingyun to transform and improve the credit service experience of SMEs. Since December 2021, Xingyun has helped more than 160,000 of such business owners to access loan services. In wealth management, Lufax Holding cooperates with financial product providers and builds a technology-powered smart business framework, using AI to match customers with products and providing middle-class and affluent investors with diverse, customized offerings.
OneConnect is a technology-as-a-service provider for financial institutions, providing clients with "full stack" integrated products, including Digital Banking, Digital Insurance, and Gamma Platform, which offers fintech infrastructure services. OneConnect continues to advance its innovation in fintech business and facilitates the digital transformation of the financial services ecosystem to provide governments, regulators, and enterprises with technological services relating to trade, supply chains, data security, risk management and so on.
Autohome, China's leading online auto services platform, is dedicated to developing a smart auto ecosystem centering on data and technology. In the ecosystem, Autohome provides auto consumers with diverse products and services across the entire auto lifecycle. Autohome continuously promotes the upgrade of its "ecosystem strategy." By developing the dual ecosystem based on Autohome and Ping An's cooperation, Autohome builds its new business portfolio and provides comprehensive services for consumers, automakers and various players in the auto ecosystem.
Ping An said, Looking forward, Ping An will adhere to its original aspiration of "being people-centric and contributing to national rejuvenation," advance the "integrated finance + healthcare" strategic upgrade, and comprehensively strengthen high-quality business development centering on life insurance reform and digital empowerment. Moreover, Ping An will contribute to the "Healthy China" initiative and respond to the national strategy of actively coping with population aging. In line with national strategies and people's livelihoods, Ping An will strive to become a world-leading integrated financial and healthcare services provider by providing retail and corporate customers with comprehensive risk protection and one-stop healthcare services.