Korean Re establishes Swiss subsidiary

Move is part of overseas expansion effort to stave off declining growth in its home market

Korean Re establishes Swiss subsidiary

Insurance News

By Gabriel Olano

Korean Reinsurance Company (Korean Re) has established a subsidiary in Zurich, Switzerland, marking its third overseas operation.

Korean Re Switzerland AG will begin writing property and casualty reinsurance business in June, after it was awarded a licence by Swiss financial authorities last week, the Korea Times reported. The subsidiary opens around one and a half years after the plan was first announced by the reinsurer in late 2017.

According to the report, Korean Re is looking to meet its growth targets overseas, due to weak growth in its home market, despite having a near-monopoly of reinsurance. The reinsurer brought in record earnings in 2015, but profitability has been declining since then.

Since taking the company’s helm in 2013, CEO Won Jong-gyu has focused on overseas expansion. Korean Re targets KRW16 trillion (US$13.4 billion) in overseas sales this year, up from KRW1.8 trillion (US$1.5 billion) last year.

“We established the subsidiary in Switzerland as a strategic point to enter European markets,” a Korean Re official told the Korea Times.

The company opened its first overseas subsidiary in 1995 in Hong Kong. Twenty years later, it entered the Lloyd’s insurance market in London. It is also planning an expansion into the South American market.

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