Chinese insurers have made further inroads into the European market after the country’s second largest life insurer, Ping An, paid $2.7bn (£1.3bn) for a 4.2% stake in Fortis Group.

The move sees Ping An become a leading shareholder in the banking and insurance colossus. It follows the announcement by China’s largest life insurer, China Life, last week that it planned to purchase a stake in a major insurer in either Europe or North America.

Sources said the purchase was a natural development of the trend of Chinese capital being invested overseas.

Chinese insurers have a pool of assets totalling $300bn to expand internationally.

Andrew Hubbard, senior partner at Mazars, said that in addition to providing equity backing,

Chinese companies might look to establish a full-scale presence in the UK market, including Lloyd's.

He said: “I see no reason why a Chinese insurer would not look to set up an operation at Lloyd’s.

“The way the Chinese market is opening up, this could be a reasonable proposition.”

A Lloyd’s report in September urged brokers to target the Chinese non-life market, currently worth in the region of £17bn.