South Korea: Life insurers target senior care market for growth

| 21 May 2024

Life insurance companies are increasingly targeting the "senior care" market.

Following the footsteps of KB Life Insurance – which in October last year, for the first time in the life insurance industry, entered the nursing business after been given approval by the Financial Supervisory Service to acquire KB Golden Life Care – Shinhan Life plans to establish a total of six nursing homes (care facilities) and two silver towns for four years from next year to 2028. It has set an internal goal of opening at least one location every year.

The first nursing home, which Shinhan Life will open in Hanam-Misa next year, will start construction soon with a target of 65 rooms. The nursing facility, which will be established in 2026, is being secured, and in 2027, Eunpyeong, Seoul, will introduce a complex residential facility (220 rooms) that combines nursing homes and silver houses for the first time in the insurance industry. 

Shinhan Life has also established an organization dedicated to nursing businesses. This year, it established a global and new business headquarters and launched Shinhan Life Care, a specialised subsidiary. "We are determined to create a new standard for senior care in terms of hardware (facilities) and software (operation)," said Kim Min-ji, Managing Director of Shinhan Life Global and New Business Headquarters.

One of the reasons large life insurance companies are entering the nursing business is the rapid ageing of the population and the growing demand and the insufficient supply of nursing facilities, especially in major cities such as Seoul.

In addition, according to a research service report conducted last year by the Life Insurance Association and the Non-life Insurance Association, 62 out of 250 local governments nationwide lacked the supply of nursing facilities. In particular, 21 autonomous districts in Seoul, excluding Guro, Jungnang, Dobong, and Geumcheon-gu, lacked facilities compared to users, reported Naver.