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Jun 2022

South Korea: Reinsurer's investment gains prop up net income

Source: Asia Insurance Review | May 2022

Korean Re has achieved strong business results for 2021, with net income jumping by 18.4% to KRW178bn ($144m).
 
Although underwriting profitability remained weak, increased investment profit boosted overall bottom-line performance, the reinsurer says in a statement.
 
“We reported an underwriting loss of KRW24.9bn as our overseas business experienced weaker underwriting results due to COVID-19 losses and natural catastrophe losses,” the statement said.
 
The overall combined ratio stayed flat at 100.3%, with the combined ratio for overseas business soaring to 102.1%.
 
Domestic personal lines of business continued to deteriorate in 2021, resulting in a combined ratio of 101.9%, amid persistently high loss ratios in medical expense insurance and long-term property fire losses.
 
However, Korean Re made an impressive improvement in domestic commercial business, with its combined ratio falling to 90.8% from 99.7%. This higher underwriting profitability was driven by favourable pricing trends in most commercial lines of business and fewer large-loss events in Korea.
 
In terms of top-line performance, Korean Re showed flat growth, with gross written premiums of KRW8,373.6bn in 2021.
 
Domestic business growth slowed to 0.8% compared to 2.7% a year earlier. While domestic personal lines of business modestly expanded by 1.9%, backed by long-term and motor businesses, the reinsurer delivered negative growth in domestic commercial business as it held fast to strict and selective underwriting guidelines. The reduction also reflected the base effect from one-off growth involving satellite launch insurance in 2020.
 
With ongoing market hardening, however, Korean Re says that it will be able to gain growth momentum for its overseas business. A 
 

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