By Lee Min-hyung
|Shinhan Financial Group headquarters in Seoul / Yonhap|
Shinhan is set to transform the company into a digital non-life insurer soon. The financial holding firm acquired a 94.56-percent stake in BNP Paribas Cardif for 41 billion won ($32.65 million) in November of last year. The latest approval from the Financial Services Commission enabled Shinhan to speed up its drive for the launch of the non-life insurance affiliate.
The timely launch of the new insurance affiliate is crucial for Shinhan, which is competing fiercely with KB Financial Group whose insurance arms generated a combined net profit of 199 billion won in the first quarter of this year. Shinhan, however, fell short of the figure by reaping 152.4 billion won in net profit during the same period.
The upcoming market debut of the tentatively-named Shinhan General Insurance will heat up competition in the local digital insurance market. For now, Carrot Insurance and Hana Insurance operate their business as digital insurers here. Kakao Pay is also scheduled to launch a digital non-life insurance company sometime in the third quarter of this year.
Previously, Shinhan appointed Kang Byoung-kwan, former head of the strategic investment unit of Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance, as the head of the new affiliate.
"He is one of the most qualified figures for Shinhan to turn the new subsidiary into a differentiated digital insurer," a Shinhan spokesman said. "The new affiliate will also help Shinhan Financial Group expand its growth in the non-banking sector."