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North Korea set up insurance firms

By
Wooyoung Lee
A general view of a new Ryo Myong street in Pyongyang, North Korea, on April 12, 2017. File Photo by How Hwee Young/EPA
A general view of a new Ryo Myong street in Pyongyang, North Korea, on April 12, 2017. File Photo by How Hwee Young/EPA

SEOUL, Dec. 20 (UPI) -- North Korea has established insurance companies that offer a broad range of coverage from fire damage, loss or damage of ships and airplanes to agriculture, technology and real estate.

In 2016, North Korea set up the Polaris Insurance Company, specializing in services for fire damage, technology, trust and agriculture in August and Samhae Insurance Company that cover marine and aviation insurance in October. It also opened Mirae Reinsurance Company in October last year that offer real estate, technology and aviation insurances, Yonhap News reported.

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Recently, each insurance company opened their websites and promoted their services on the official web portal of the North Korean government.

According to the company introductions, the Polaris and Samhae received approval from the state government to operate reinsurance services. Mirae Reinsurance is the first North Korean reinsurance company, targeting both domestic and international markets.

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"We aim to expand and develop our services while building networks with internationally renowned insurance companies," said Kim Kyung-hoon, president of the Polaris Insurance Company, in a statement, according to Yonhap News.

"We will begin promoting our domestic insurance services and plan to expand our services further to the international market," he said.

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The Polaris Insurance Company has established 11 branches and 70 local offices while hiring 116 employees across the country. Samhae Insurance Company said it established local offices at major ports and transit spots.

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Lim Eul-chul, a North Korean expert at Kyungnam University in Seoul, said that the insurance companies prove lively business activities in North Korea.

"Businesses are active in North Korea and marketization has developed to the point where they need to diversify insurance services," Lim was quoted as saying in the Yonhap News report.

"Considering having an insurance system as a key condition to attract foreign direct investment, it's a sign that North Korea has plans in mind to open its market," he said.

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The Korea National Insurance Corporation has long been a sole insurance service provider in the country. However, it was placed under the EU sanctions after operating in Britain for 20 years, according to Insurance Business.

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