Former President Shin Yong-gil KB Life Insurance has been named the next chairman of Korea Life Insurance Association (KLIA), being the only candidate recommended to the post by the Chairman Candidates Recommendation Committee on Nov. 30. The general conference of the association met on Dec. 7 to approve his nomination as the next head of KLIA.
He is the only CEO of the KLIA to be named as the head of a private financial institution since 1993 when Vice Chairman Lee Kang-hwan of Kyobo Life Insurance was appointed to CEO. In an interview with a local daily, Shin said he will inform members of the association what’s going on with the financial authorities and vice versa.
Shin sees his main job as ensuring that the insurance firms to their job fully by taking charge of guaranteeing part of the social guarantee by extending his support.
He will also decide with association members all matters related to the implementation of IFRSI7 and K-ICS, including remunerations for financial consultants under K-ICS. He will explain to financial authorities what’s best for life insurance firms.
Shin said he will do his best to come up with the best solutions for the payment of insurance premiums, amid credit card and interest rate cuts paid on retirement fund savings. Industry sources said the association went with a candidate from the private sector to take its top job to avoid criticism of a “parachute personnel move,” a term used to describe when a former government official lands a top job via appointment. Shin worked for Kyobo Life for over 24 years before being named president of KB Life Insurance.
A native of Chonan, South Chungcheong Province, he entered Kyobo Life in 1992 as the head of the Financial Team and went through a variety of key posts in the company, including head of Asset Management Headquarters, vice president and then president from 2008 to 2013. He then moved to KB Life Insurance as president in 2015.
A graduate of Seoul National University with a B.A. in German language, he went on to study at Georgia State University in the U.S. and got Ph.D in finance.
The development of the Korean life insurance industry during the latter part of the 20th century is an exceptional phenomenon. Between 1970 and 2000, the annual growth rate of premium volume was 46.2 percent, while the annual growth rate of insurance asset was 34.4 percent. This rapid expansion of the life insurance industry made Korea one of the largest life insurance markets in the world, ranking seventh in terms of total premium volume as of 2003.
The rapid expansion was possible due to three major factors: the Korean government’s interest rate policy which was beneficial to the life insurance industry, the unique life insurance sales method based on personal relationships and a growth-oriented business strategy on the part of the Korean life insurers, which was higher than that of most countries with a similar level of economic development.
Besides Joseon Life Insurance Company, Korea saw the opening of eight new life insurance companies over a short period of just eight years from August 1945 to July 1953, bringing the total number of life insurance companies to nine. The limited market size of the Korean life insurance industry at that time led to fierce competition among these companies.