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Kakao finds an InsurTech partner

Oct 24,2019
Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance, the largest non-life insurer in Korea, will partner with Kakao to establish an online insurance company that primarily deals with miscellaneous non-life insurance on digital platforms.

The move, reported on Wednesday, is the latest in a series of partnerships that links established insurers with tech companies as the notion of InsurTech, a combination of insurance and technology, has quickly risen to prominence.

The companies have yet to file an official application for approval but have agreed to build a digital-focused insurance company.

“We are considering applying for a preliminary approval with the financial authorities,” a spokesperson at Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance said.

“We have generally agreed to set up a new unit to run a digitalized non-life insurance business,” he said.

Kakao Pay, a payment affiliate of Kakao, will also be involved in the new venture.

The spokesperson, however, said that nothing has been decided about shareholding and management structure.

Local media reports suspect that either Kakao or Kakao Pay will likely hold management rights and a controlling stake, while Samsung’s insurance affiliate will acquire the remaining shares.

The major driver behind the cooperation appears to be the concrete market status of both companies.

“Kakao is the operator of the top digital platform [Kakao Talk], and Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance is the No. 1 underwriter for non-life insurance,” the spokesperson said.

“So, if the two companies combine their expertise, we thought that we could provide an innovative insurance service for clients.”

BY PARK EUN-JEE [park.eunjee@joongang.co.kr]