Insurance is a common part of our lives.  From our homes to our health to our wealth, we can insure against the worst happening.  But in China, where insurance companies have found policy income dropping in recent months, a new insurance product has been introduced: marriage insurance.

The purpose of marriage insurance is to compensate the couple if the marriage fails – the payout being greater the longer the couple are together.  The policy will also pay out if the couple remain together for the full term of the policy (for instance, 50 years).  Clearly, with 2.9 million divorcing couples in China last year, the insurance companies see this market as a potential opportunity.

Still in its infancy, marriage insurance appears to be of most interest to wives rather than husbands. In situations where the wife is likely to be a stay-at-home mum or be the lesser earner, the insurance policy is being viewed as a potential means of income if the couple divorce.

However, some wealth advisors are skeptical about the new policies.  They have suggested that the level of risk to the insurance companies cannot be accurately quantified – not least due to the fact that a couple can simply choose to divorce in order to gain a payout.  This being the case, potential customers are being urged to carefully read the terms and conditions of the policies.  Some policies mitigate risk for instance, by including other factors such as the health of the couple.  It is perhaps partly this reason that there hasn’t as yet been a stampede for marriage insurance policies, with policy sales still reportedly modest.

Obviously any insurance policy carries a cost, and marriage insurance could demand very high monthly premiums.  This being the case, in western countries such as the US and now in the UK, prenuptial agreements are likely to remain the much wiser and more cost effective option.

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