Both Bupa and Allianz are making moves to expand their international operations this year. Bupa has added a sales and support center in Fuengirola, Spain to provide administrative support for Bupa International and IHI Bupa customers. The 12 person service center will also aid distributors in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Allianz, on the other hand, is opening new gateways in China. It has recently been given approval from regulators to change the status of their fully-owned Allianz Insurance Co. Guangzhou Branch from a branch office to a subsidiary of Allianz Versicherungs A.G. Previously, China only allowed foreign joint-venture companies to enter two new provinces a year. Changing the status of the company to a subsidiary makes the company an independent legal entity which allows it to apply for setting up its own branch offices in other provinces in China. While this may allow Allianz to enter more than two provinces in China per year, it still depends heavily on collaboration and negotiations between the Allianz subsidiary and a variety of Chinese regulators. The Allianz casualty and property branch office opened in 2003, they have been growing their business selling engineering, domestic credit, liability, property, marine, short-term health insurance and accident insurance in the province to clients both foreign and domestic. Given the new opportunities for expansion into new provinces, Allianz intends to keep the focus on growing their core industrial and commercial business, as well as expanding retail distribution of their products during 2010. Companies Mentioned: Bupa - Since being started in 1947, The British United Provident Association, or Bupa, has grown to an international company offering health insurance, health and care services to over 10 million customers in 190 countries around the world. IHI Bupa - Originally dubbed IHI Danmark, the company has 30 years of history as an innovative international health insurer. The company was purchased by Bupa in 2005, and became a branch in 2009 beginning to operate under the banner of ihi Bupa. Allianz - Founded in 1890 as an accident and transport insurer, Allianz has grown into a international insurer with over 75 million customers in approximately 70 countries.