Korean insurers break through with over 1 trillion won in overseas premiums

Survey shows increasing penetration of Korean insurers into global market

Korean insurers break through with over 1 trillion won in overseas premiums

Insurance News

By Roxanne Libatique

The collective foreign premium revenues of the top four non-life insurance companies in South Korea exceeded the 1 trillion won ($759 million) threshold in the past year, a first in their history.

This information, disclosed by insiders within the sector and reported by Pulse News, highlighted a substantial growth in international business for DB Insurance Co, Hyundai Marine & Fire Insurance Co, Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance Co, and KB Insurance Co, with their overseas premium collections reaching 1.04 trillion won, marking a near doubling from 526.3 billion won in 2019.

DB Insurance leads premium growth

DB Insurance led the charge with its international premium revenue reaching 571.5 billion won.

The company, which initiated its global journey with a branch in Guam in 1984, now operates additional branches across the US in key locations including New York, California, and Hawaii. Its venture into the Vietnamese market in 2015, through the acquisition of a significant stake in the Post and Telecommunication Joint Stock Insurance Corporation (PTI), Vietnam's fifth-largest insurance firm, underscored its commitment to international expansion.

Recently, DB Insurance expanded its Vietnamese portfolio by acquiring Saigon-Hanoi Insurance Corp (BSH) and Vietnam National Aviation Insurance (VNI), further establishing its foothold.

This overseas expansion strategy has been met with positive feedback from international credit rating agencies, with DB Insurance securing an A+ rating from Standard & Poor's – a notable upgrade and its first in seven years.

Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance's growth

Meanwhile, Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance has been actively establishing its presence abroad, with operations extending into the US, Europe, and several Asian countries including Indonesia, Vietnam, and Singapore.

Korean insurers in the global market

Despite these advancements, the penetration of Korean insurers into global markets appears nascent, with foreign premiums constituting only 1.2% of the total 77.7 trillion won direct premiums written as of the end of 2022, according to Pulse News.

A survey conducted by the Korea Insurance Research Institute revealed an increasing ambition among industry leaders to venture further abroad, with 10 of 20 CEOs indicating plans to expand internationally. The focus areas for this expansion include Vietnam, Indonesia, and India, reflecting a strategic pivot towards markets with high growth potential.

This shift in strategy signifies a broader industry movement towards seizing international opportunities, suggesting a more aggressive pursuit of overseas growth by South Korean insurers in the coming years.

In other news, South Korea recently passed a significant amendment to the Special Act on Prevention of Insurance Fraud to enhance the capabilities of financial and investigative authorities and insurance companies in tackling the increasing sophistication and organisation of insurance fraud.

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