Ready for Tough Year

Life insurance firms to seek niche markets and provide tailor-made products and services

"If last year was the year for us to prepare for our leap to be a top global life insurer, this year is the year for us to take flight and produce detailed results," said President Park Keun-hee of Samsung Life Insurance Co. in his New Year address touching on the company's management strategy.
"Last year," Park went on to say, "was the year that we built the foundation for our future and this year, we will build a beautiful house where we can live eternally."
Since his arrival at the company as its CEO from Beijing, where he headed the company's China operation, he has worked to instill many changes at the company in order to become a top-class global life insurer.
Park kicked off a campaign to change the brand image of the company to "People and Love," because the original root of life insurance is people and, therefore, the company should have the love of the people.
The CEO has made public his three-point strategy to run the company this year, including the retirement market, the market for the wealthy, and the overseas market, the three major markets on which to focus.
He also stressed social contribution activities, saying that only businesses who engage in social contributions can be top firms, which includes not just giving money, but solving social issues as well.
To this end, Samsung Life will take on a number of social activities, including the "Three Year Old Village Project" to promote increasing the birthrate around the country, and the "Drum Club" to promote playing drums for youths to develop their appreciation for music.
His passion for change will not go away this year, either. He will push for changes to cope with various trends in the life insurance market due to the economic slowdown. He will push for reform in services, products, and marketing, since market trends won't be clear with the rapid changes in the financial markets, customers, and competition. He will tour the company's local business outlets under his belief that answers can only be found on the frontlines where business occurs. Samsung Life is the only Korean life insurer listed among the Fortune 500 last year, ranked 332nd, with total assets over 150 trillion won with over 400 financial consultants.

Kyobo Life Insurance Co.:
Kyobo Life has decided its management strategy for this year will be to achieve balance between attacking and defending, with attacking meaning growth and defending meaning risk management. The strategy aims at achieving growth even during the current sluggish economy, a tough time for the life insurance business.
The company's growth strategy is predicated on growth through customer satisfaction in its products and services with all concerned parties customers, officials and staff of the company, and local society making joint progress.
To this end, the company plans to follow up its management theme of "Solid Service Throughout a Lifetime," which was kicked off last year to show that the company is a top firm that sees customer satisfaction as its top function. Under this strategy, the company's financial planners will visit their clients regularly to see what they can do in the form of after service, especially after the customers have already signed contracts, based on the company's strategy to improve customer satisfaction-based service, not sales-centered service.
Kyobo Life will continue to pursue the strategy until 2015 to set a new standard for after service in the life insurance industry.
Kyobo will also faithfully focus on lifetime insurance and retirement insurance, which guarantee post-retirement life and the life for senior citizens in response to the rising demand for guarantee-type life insurance products.
The company will also go after the retirement pension market taking advantage of its experiences and competitive edge in the sector

Korea Life Insurance Co.:
Korea Life will pursue the two-track strategy aimed at growth in business and stable profits, while seeking to find new markets overseas.
In the marketing sector, the company set its future goal to be the "Top Life Insurer in New Contracts by 2020," and starting this year the company will work to close the gap between Korea Life and the top life insurer in the country, strengthening its growth base and business structure.
The top item in its domestic strategy is to recruit talented financial consultants, with the channels for recruitment to be expanded from seven to 10 this year.
Korea Life will go after the 2030 generation using segregated products, services, and sales processes to attract them and the company will support them in various ways including the One Stop system using tablet PCs and other technology to help them secure a competitive edge over their rivals.
The company will also pursue its strategy to be a companion to retirees by helping them have post-retirement security.
The company will go after the retirement fund sector with new products so that new retirees will have a wide-range of life insurance product choice with diverse payment methods of the retirement funds.
Korea Life will be the only life insurer with the facility for customers to talk directly with the CEO, and top officials will always listen to what the customers want to say to them by expanding communication channels.
The company will also come up with customer services that take advantage of the smart environment and develop tailor-made and segregated customer services to be prepared for customers' demands preemptively.
Korea Life will also pursue a strategy to expand its overseas operations in both China and Vietnam. In Vietnam, the company will expand its outlets to large cities besides Hanoi in an effort to build a business network linking the entire country by next year and to hike the life insurance market share in the country to 5 percent by 2015.
Korea Life will set up a joint-venture life insurance firm in China with a large international business group in Zhejiang Province with the goal of kicking off operations by the end of this year. Following the launch of the joint venture life insurance firm and the solidification of its operations in Zhejiang Province, the company will move on to other provinces such as Jiangsu and Sichuan and three provinces in the northeast.
Vice Chairman Shin Eun-chol said the operations in China will strictly follow local practices based on Korea Life's accumulated know-how on the operation of life insurance businesses nw


(from left) Chairman Kim Kyu-bok of Korea Life Insurance Association.President Park Keun-hee of Samsung Life Insurance Co. Chairman Shin Chang-jae of Kyobo Life Insurance Co. Vice Chairman Shin Eun-chul of Korea Life Insurance Co.

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