South Korea: Life insurers strengthen digitalisation

| 05 Jan 2023

Life insurers are expanding their in-house digital-related units or seeking partnerships with fintech firms to increase their tech capabilities.

For example, KB Life, which started anew from January this year after consolidating its systems with Prudential Life, which the company acquired in 2020, said it has launched a new Digital Transformation (DT) headquarters.

The new unit is in charge of developing data-based digital business models and a data governance system, which will strengthen the company's financial platform usage.

The insurer said it aims to transform the company's structure into a more agile and dynamic one to provide differentiated and innovative products and services.

Similarly, Shinhan Life has newly launched the Digital Experience (DX) group to maximise its information tech and digital competitiveness.

The unit consolidates the former Information and Communications Technology (ICT) group and Digital Innovation (DI) group, and will produce united, efficient digital strategies for the firm. 

The company's official explains that the insurer plans to focus on strengthening digitalisation and customer support, aiming to provide new values and experiences. 

In the same vein, Kyobo Life also created a data strategy team in December last year, where the insurer's new business models and strategies will be developed.

The team expects to devise sustainable new business models, utilising customer big data. 

What is noteworthy is that Shin Jung-ha, who is the eldest son of Kyobo Life Chairman Shin Chang-jae, has been leading the digital strategy team since December last year. A graduate of NYU with an MBA from Columbia University, he worked at Credit Suisse's Seoul branch, and led a digital innovation team at Kyobo Information and Communication, a subsidiary of Kyobo Life in 2021. 

In his New Year's speech, Korea Life Insurance Association Chairman Chung Hee-soo said, "We will seek deregulation for digital innovation in whole sectors of the insurance industry this year, from product development and sales to underwriting and insurance payment.”

Life insurers' rush to develop digital-based business models and strategies are in contrast with those of most non-life insurers in South Korea which have already been equipped with sizable digital units from a few years ago to operate considerable procedures of businesses through mobile applications, reported The Korea Times.