KoreanRe Insurance Services, Inc. (KRIS)
Korean Re obtained a reinsurance intermediary license for KoreanRe Insurance Services, Inc. from the Department of Banking & Insurance in the State of New Jersey in September 2021. The reinsurance intermediary will help Korean Re build stronger brand recognition in the U.S. by serving the interests of insurance companies in the country and securing more flexible and creative reinsurance solutions.
Since Korean Re announced its plan to set up a reinsurance intermediary in the U.S. in September 2020, it has made swift progress in launching the business. In February 2021, Korean Re successfully established a registered business in New Jersey, followed by the license approval in September. KoreanRe Insurance Services, Inc. is now up and running.
The establishment of the new business in the U.S. is part of Korean Re’s global expansion strategy. Since CEO Won took office in June 2013, he has pushed ahead with an overseas business expansion drive, leading Korean Re to broaden its global business network. Over the past ten years, Korean Re has built seven new presences, including Korean Re Underwriting Ltd. at Lloyd’s of London in the U.K., the Labuan branch in Malaysia, the Dubai DIFC branch in the UAE, Korean Reinsurance Switzerland AG in Zurich, Switzerland, the Shanghai branch in China, and a representative office in Bogotá, Colombia.
The new reinsurance intermediary, which represents another important milestone in our efforts to expand into global markets, will first aim to attract quality business in the northeastern part of the U.S. and then gradually tap into other parts of the country. Backed by the activities of the reinsurance intermediary, we will continue to raise our business profile and drive our business growth in the U.S., which has a global market share of 40% in terms of premium income.
Our representative office in Bogotá was set up in February 2020 after gaining approval from local authorities in Colombia, with which Korea had signed an FTA agreement in 2016. From this operating base in Bogotá, the capital city of Colombia, Korean Re covers the entire Latin American region, including the Caribbean, where the company has built business relationships with a number of (re)insurers for more than 25 years. The office was established as part of Korean Re’s ongoing initiative to increase its overseas business based on a diversified geographic portfolio. Going forward, we will continuously provide improved services to our local clients, explore new business opportunities, and further diversify our overseas portfolio.
Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA)
Korean Reinsurance Switzerland AG (KRSA)
Located in Zurich, Switzerland, Korean Reinsurance Switzerland AG (KRSA) is a fully owned subsidiary of Korean Re. At the January 2023 renewals, KRSA implemented significant portfolio optimization by substantially reducing its natural catastrophe exposures, while improving profitability in terms of both size and ratio, capitalizing on opportunities from the intensified market hardening. KRSA has also reduced the volatility of its business results, in line with its overall market drive toward structural improvement in response to recent major natural catastrophe events in Western and Central Europe in 2021 and 2022. Nevertheless, KRSA continued to provide reliable multiline support to key partners and further progressed in its long-term strategy to diversify into non-property lines. KRSA aims to continuously strengthen Korean Re’s presence in Europe and to build a leading position to support its clients with comprehensive reinsurance solutions in all major lines of business.
Korean Re Underwriting Limited (KRUL)
Korean Re Underwriting Limited (KRUL) was established in 2015 as a subsidiary of Korean Re and has been providing its capital to selected syndicates as a corporate member of Lloyd’s. Since its beginning in the 1650s, Lloyd’s has been a pioneer in insurance and has grown over 350-plus years to become the world’s leading market for specialist insurance. As a market that specializes in unusual risks, Lloyd’s has built a leadership position in supplying insurance capacity for specialty lines, including satellites, terrorism, cyber and other emerging risks. KRUL shares the operating results of various syndicates by deploying its capacity to them. It also seeks strategic cooperation with major players in the market to monitor the latest trends of product development, pricing, and capacity in advanced markets. By doing so, KRUL supports Korean Re in its initiative to expand into overseas markets and strengthen its global network.
Our DIFC branch in Dubai, which opened in January 2018, has achieved relatively successful results in its initial years of operation not only by receiving a stable transfer of existing contracts from the head office but also by attracting new contracts. The branch office covers the Middle East, all of Africa, Turkey, Greece, and Cyprus, and seeks to further strengthen its presence in the existing market, while actively targeting untapped markets in Africa to seek sustained growth and diversification of its portfolio.
Our Shanghai branch commenced operations in April 2020 and showed stable growth even in an exceptionally challenging environment amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Since its opening in 2020, the branch has focused on stabilizing local business operations by establishing a solid system infrastructure.
The branch mainly targets highly profitable lines of business, such as property and liability non-proportional treaties, while maintaining a conservative position on relatively low performing marine, motor and proportional property treaties. Unlike 2021, in which losses from the Henan flood severely undermined the overall underwriting results of the branch, 2022 was a relatively quiet year in terms of natural catastrophes in China. Typhoon activity remained low, while there were a couple of small risk losses that impacted a few treaties.
Our underwriting strategy for 2023 stays unchanged. In line with our underwriting focus on bottom-line performance, we will endeavor to seek proportional treaties with stable results. As for the nonproportional treaty business, in light of the current hard market situation, we will continue to increase our portfolio of adequately priced high-quality treaties based on technical pricing.
Through our strategic approach in offering customized services to major clients based on their business results, cash flows, and solvency, we will aim to become a stronger player as well as a reliable business partner in the region. The Shanghai branch will not only keep pace with the rapidly growing insurance market in China but also cope effectively with local regulatory changes.
Singapore and Labuan
Our Singapore branch has provided stable capacity to the Southeast Asian market over the last 45 years. Across the market, Korean Re is recognized as a leading reinsurance company that provides reliable quotations based on a consistent underwriting policy. Furthermore, we remain actively responsive to our clients’ needs as we continuously support their risk management objectives. Along with developments in the market, their needs are changing and evolving, so we are striving to keep up with market needs and expand our business portfolio accordingly.
Building on our track record in Singapore, our Labuan branch has been serving the Malaysian market as a Tier 2 reinsurer since its opening in July 2017. As one of the market leaders in the region, we will stay committed to providing excellent client services across diverse lines of business. For the sake of administrative cost savings, the branch is operated without staff, as all necessary documentation and administrative activities are handled by our Singapore branch.
Worldwide Insurance Services, Ltd. (WIS)
Worldwide Insurance Services, Ltd. (WIS), which is based in Hong Kong, has been mainly running a reinsurance broking business since 1995 as a wholly owned subsidiary of Korean Re. As an in-house broker of Korean Re, WIS has access to Korean Re’s treaty and facultative businesses. This puts it in an excellent position to support (re)insurers with limited opportunities to tap into the Korean insurance market.
In addition to giving (re)insurers a chance to utilize Korean Re’s capacity, its strengths mainly lie in decades of accumulated knowhow and expertise in reinsurance, not to mention the insightful knowledge necessary to provide practical value-added services. Moreover, as a licensed broker in both Hong Kong and Lloyd’s UK, WIS has a robust worldwide network to operate both Korean and non-Korean businesses. Based on those advantages, WIS works closely with Korean Re to offer the best solutions that meet the increasingly diverse and sophisticated needs of its clients worldwide.
On top of its main business of reinsurance broking, WIS has recently started to engage in the primary insurance brokerage business, mostly for Korean companies operating in Hong Kong. This new business operation has contributed to increasing the insureds’ benefits through outstanding insurance consulting and brokerage services. Starting with group medical insurance of Korean financial entities in Hong Kong, it plans to expand its business scope and service areas.