Boston, MA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 01/03/2014 -- The competitive landscape of South Korea's insurance sector continues to be dominated by massive companies that are members of the local chaebol corporate groups. Overall, the sector appears mature by many standards. Nevertheless, the ongoing growth in health insurance and long-term insurance is underpinning the development of the non-life segment. In the life segment, particular companies are gaining market share through development of new products and/or changes in distribution practices. As of late 2013, BMI remains of the view that the market is an attractive opportunity for large multinational companies in both segments.
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In the life segment, demand for annuities is being boosted by the ageing of the population and by success on the part of particular insurers in lifting the productivity of some distribution channels. The non-life companies are achieving double-digit growth in premiums - but thanks mainly to rising demand for long-term products. The long-term products would, in most other countries, be offered by companies in the life segment. Moreover, recent legal changes have lifted demand for particular non-life lines (such as compulsory liability insurance for managers of public facilities).
Nevertheless, there are challenges. The environment of low economic growth and low interest rates means that it has become harder for the leading life companies to offer annuities that are both attractive to the customers and profitable for them. Several of the leading regional life insurance companies, such as Allianz, Prudential plc and AIA, have emphasised how they are shunning unprofitable business in South Korea in the reports that they published through 2012. This is at a time that the regulator is increasing its requirements in relation to capital.
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