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Wednesday, 1 July 2015

KorEconomics 101 (한국경제학개론), Part XVII: Samsung Life Insurance

Samsung Life Insurance (Hangul/Hanja/Romanization: 삼성생명보험/三星生命保險/Samseong Saengmyeong Boheom; Korea Exchange Stock Code: 032830) is a South Korean multinational insurance company headquartered at Samsung Life Insurance Building - 55 Sejong Boulevard/Sejong-daero, Taepyeongno 2-ga 150-beonji, Seoul Jung-gu and a subsidiary of the Samsung Group. It is the largest insurance company in Korea and a Fortune Global 500 company.

Samsung Life was a private company from its foundation in 1957 until it went public in May 2010. The IPO was the largest in South Korean history and made Samsung Life one of the country's most valuable companies measured by market capitalization. Its headquarters are situated across from Sungnyemun, a trademark of Seoul Jung-gu and the historic gate which is gazetted as the First National Treasure of the Korean Republic located in the heart of Seoul.

Samsung Life Insurance Co., Ltd. offers pension policies, private health insurance, corporate welfare policies, and other products; retirement pension products; loan products, including mortgage and credit loans to companies and families; and funds and trust management products. The company is also involved in real estate leasing business. It operates seven representative offices and three investment firms in the United States, the United Kingdom, China, Japan, India, and Vietnam. 

Founded in 1957 as Dongbang Life Insurance (동방생명/Dongbang Saengmyeong), the company quickly grew and attained a market leading position after just 18 months of operations. Since then, Samsung Life Insurance has maintained its market leadership in the industry through product innovation, marketing, and distribution. In particular, the growth was accelerated after the company was incorporated under Samsung Group in 1963.

In 1986, the company opened representative offices in New York and Tokyo. It has also expanded in overseas operation through a joint venture in Thailand in 1997 and China in 2005. The company was the first life insurance company in Korea to achieve 100 trillion won in assets in 2006. On May 12, 2010, Samsung Life Insurance went public and the shares went for 110,000 won, or $96/share in one of the largest initial offerings and a record for the country, raising $4.4 billion.