KEIC Lends Exporters a Hand
Its performance turns to black with insurance coverage of \ 63 Tln

orea raked in $254 billion worth of exports last year, a 30 percent year-on-year surge, serving as a cash cow to prop up the economic growth despite the sagging economy, caused by sluggish domestic demand and investments.
Amid the backdrop of this tremendous achievement, Korea Export Insurance Corp. (KEIC) is a helping hand for Korean exporters, particularly SMEs, which are contributing much to the economic growth.
KEIC CEO-Chairman Kim Song-woong said, "KEIC supported exporters with the insurance coverage of 63 trillion won worth exports, accounting for nearly 19 percent of Korea's total overseas shipments made last year."
"SME exporters are thankful to KEIC at this time when they are faced with the losses stemming from raw material hikes and the steep appreciation of the Korean currency," Kim said in an interview with NewsWorld.
Also, with its insurance support to exports worth 63 trillion won, KEIC posted 13.8 billion won in the black last year, for the first time, KEIC Chairman Kim said.
Behind the achievement is Chairman Kim's initiative to lead with innovative changes and devotion to customer needs. As part of his pursuit for the cause, he established a management innovation team shortly after he took the helm of the export insurance institution last May. "I tell officers and staff of the corporation to have pride and passion in their jobs," he said.
"I emphasize officers and staff to have hopes for not only the corporation, but also for their own future, and then do their best work for Korea's exports and corporation." Through this kind of management, I ultimately aim to improve our corporation with a "total solution for exports, an integrated export credit organization both in name and in substance," he said.
KEIC has about 370 staff members, but they handle about 400,000 export insurance cases, said Kim, adding that KEIC's interactive on-line insurance contract system becomes the subject of envy from Japanese counterparts, relying on a database one.
KEIC ranks at the top five list of the Berne Union, an international institution of export insurance and foreign investment insurance, he said. The Berne Union has 54 members from 43 countries.
KEIC Chairman Kim said, "KEIC is always trying to be faithful to the catchphrase KEIC Coming Closer to SMEs," SME exporters accounted for 42 percent of the exports insured by KEIC or 27 trillion won worth exports last year.
The services KEIC offers in the interests of SME exporters include the receivable management service in which all receivables are handed over to KEIC for settlements three months after payment dates of export bills in arrears.
KEIC gives support to Korean companies which have obtained reliability certifications as part of its efforts to spur localization of parts, with "Reliability Insurance." The coverage of the insurance product will be expanded, and its coverage will increase to a target of 1.8 trillion won for this year from last year's 1.6 trillion won.
The export insurance institution early this year introduced an e-trade insurance system designed to help exporters make trade transactions on Internet sites. The system is part of the ambitious "e-Trade KOREA 2007," a long-term government plan for implementing a full-fledged e-Trade system.
KEIC also offers insurance support for plant exporters and other Korean companies developing natural resources overseas, Kim said, that KEIC improves "Mid-Long Term Export Insurance" to help reach $10 billion worth of plant exports during the year.
With the value of the won appreciating since the end of November last year, many firms took out policies under the foreign exchange risk insurance. Payout amount under the insurance last year came to around 7 trillion won and it is expected to amount to 9 trillion won this year.
In order to help small exporters manage their foreign exchange risks well, KEIC has set up the foreign exchange consulting center at its third floor on Jan.6. In addition, the corporation has assigned foreign exchange experts at its 12 branch offices around the country to provide advises on foreign exchange risks free of charge to small exporters.
Exports ran up such a huge record last year, and it would be a little hard to keep up with it this year said the KEIC CEO, adding that Korea can continue to keep the exports expanding by a large margin this year, too.
Korea ships 8,000 kinds of goods to over 230 countries in the world and some of them have dominant market positions overseas, including mobile phones and semiconductor chips, making our export industry resilient to external trade conditions and very competitive. Given the situation, exports this year may not have as vigorous an expansion as it did last year, but would still be able to expand, he said.
KEIC is preparing the new product called, "technology service export insurance," to help our exports of new technologies under the projection that exports of computer sector products including mobile phones and wireless communication equipment would continue to grow this year, he said. nw

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