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Top offline life insurers emerge as major online market players: data

All Headlines 10:25 June 13, 2017

SEOUL, June 13 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's major offline life insurers have emerged as major players in the country's online life insurance market, data showed Tuesday, as they focused marketing activities on savings-type policies, which life planners shun due to low commissions.

Kyobo Lifeplanet Life Insurance Co., an Internet arm of Kyobo Life Insurance, became the largest online life insurer with the initial premium payments of 1.28 billion won (US$1.1 million) during the first three months of this year, up 45 percent from a year earlier, according to the statistics by the Korea Life Insurance Association.

Hanwha Life Insurance placed second with 789 million won, up 139.1 percent from a year earlier, followed by Samsung Life Insurance with 742 million won, up 136.3 percent from the previous year.

KDB Life Insurance Co., which has dominated the country's online life insurance market for the past few years, was the fifth during the January-March period.

Launched in November in 2012 as the country's first online life insurer, KDB Life Insurance effectively ruled the market in 2015 with a market share of 71.3 percent in the first quarter of that year and 44 percent in the first three months of 2016.

The firm's market share fell to 11.2 percent during the first quarter this year.

Market watchers attribute the drop to the company's failure to actively engage in cyber marketing due to belt-tightening amid talks of the company's possible merger and acquisition.

"The Internet insurance market is expected to grow around the savings-type endowment policies market that is better handled by online firms rather than offline businesses," an analyst said, noting insurance planners tend to focus on whole life or term life insurance policies that guarantee handsome commissions. Savings-type policies provide little in the way of commissions for sellers.

Shown is a capture from an online life insurer's website. (Yonhap)

hdh@yna.co.kr
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