Cigna Corp. and its partner in China announced Monday that the joint venture has one million policies in China.

Cigna and CMC Life Insurance Co. Ltd., an affiliate of China Merchants Group, started their joint venture in 2003. Cigna brings insurance experience to the deal. CMC brings retail experience and brand recognition as well as an understanding of customers in China.

The companies sell supplemental health, life and accident insurance distributed directly online, through telemarketers, and at banks at branch offices of a distribution partner, China Merchants Bank.

The joint venture also sells and services Cigna's expatriate business, Global Health Benefits, which maintains a network of doctors, hospitals and clinicians for people who work outside the country where they have citizenship. Cigna and CMC recently started selling private medical insurance to "globally mobile, high-net-worth" people based in China, Fernando Moreira, general manager and CEO of Cigna & CMC, said in a prepared statement

Cigna and CMC had $238 million in revenue from premiums and fees for the first nine months of this year, a 35 percent increase form the same period last year.

"With China's growing middle class, aging population and expanding urbanization, there will be tremendous opportunities for the insurance sector to help meet China's health and protection needs," Moreira said. "We will stay focused on the customer and leverage the advanced resources of both companies to provide comprehensive, improved health insurance services for the local market."