Korea: Life insurers urged to address unmet needs of consumers – Asia Insurance Review

While Korea ranks second in Asia for insurance penetration, there are still plenty of unmet needs for life
insurance coverage which the industry has to address to remain sustainable into the future. Speaking at a
panel discussion during the Insurance Summit on Industrial Revolution 4.0 held in Seoul this week, CEO
of LINA Life Insurance Company Ben Hong said that both societal and technological trends mean that
insurers in Korea would have to find ways to adapt their business model.
“There is a convergence of changing consumer needs and digitalisation, for instance self-driving cars
should happen soon in Korea and when that happens, premiums will be mileage-based and as a result
motor premium volumes will drop.
“Also, people are living longer and so are more focused on living benefits,” he said. Meanwhile, ABL Life
Insurance’s chief digital officer Chang Wonkyun said that access to new data points provides an
opportunity for insurers to innovate. .
“If we could measure people’s activities in real time, rather than just use current metrics like age and
gender, then we can develop new products depending on the time and risk. Although there may be some
regulatory obstacles for such a product to go to market right now, I do see that regulations are moving in
a positive direction,” he said.
Given the fact that insurance has a long historic past, it is important for the industry to openly engage
with new ideas from outside the sector. We have our own culture and processes and sometimes we need
someone from the outside to come in and help us, but unless we have an open mind then it will be
difficult to set the right environment for it to work,” said Mr Michael Shin, CEO of RGA Korea.
Mr. Chang added that the people side is very important in the transformation agenda and hence
organizations need to have open communication when embarking on digital transformation. Meanwhile,
Mr. Hong pointed out the need to keep the focus on customers and respond effectively to their needs.
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“So far much of our investments have been focused on the back office function for operational efficiency
but we need to ask how do we create genuine customer value and how do we apply technology to achieve
that,” he said.
Panel moderator Ms Kim Mijung, CEO of YONG Consulting, rounded up the discussion by stating her
belief that the industry can successfully assimilate new technology and people – rather than having to
choose one over the other.

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