SEOUL, Oct. 8 (Yonhap) -- South Korean insurance firms are expected to report nearly flat growth in their premium income for next year, as the insurance industry is grappling with a slowing economy and an aging population, a report showed Tuesday.
According to the report by the Korea Insurance Research Institute (KIRI), the combined premium income for next year is forecast to stand at 202.7 trillion won (US$169 billion), compared with this year's estimate of 202.6 trillion won.
South Korea's insurance industry has been struggling with lackluster growth for years as demand for insurance policies has fallen amid low interest rates and a slowing economy.
The premium growth rate fell 1 percent in 2017, 0.2 percent in 2018 and is likely to grow 0.3 percent this year, according to the report.
In 2018, local insurance firms saw their combined net profit decline, hit by a jump in auto insurance losses.
The combined net profit of insurance firms stood at 7.27 trillion won in 2018, down 7.4 percent from a year ago, according to government data.
Life insurers saw their combined net profit rise 3.1 percent on-year to 4.03 trillion won last year.
But the combined net profit of non-life insurers dipped 17.8 percent on-year to 3.23 trillion won.
KIRI urged insurance firms to improve their risk management systems to cope with falling profits and rising loss ratios.
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