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FSS chief tells insurance firms to protect consumers

Korea’s chief financial regulator Choi Soo-hyun reiterated that enhanced consumer protection in the insurance industry would guarantee insurers a brighter future.

Insurance companies may see consumer protection as yet another cost to their business, said Financial Supervisory Service Gov. Choi in his keynote address during the 49th annual seminar of the International Insurance Society in Seoul on Tuesday.

“But, from a long-term perspective, strong consumer protection means strong consumer confidence and demand for insurance,” Choi told the participants.

“The images of anti-Wall Street protests on CNN and BBC are still fresh to many of us,” he said. “And I can tell you that public demand for consumer protection has been growing in Korea as well.”

Choi commented on the 2011 gathering of G20 finance ministers and central bank governors in which they called for new global standards for financial consumer protection.

Stressing that the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development also followed up with high-level principles on financial consumer protection, he said there was a strong commitment to consumer protection in the U.S. as well.

The governor recently met with the heads of U.S. regulatory authorities during his trip to Washington, D.C.

Choi also mentioned the problem of an ageing society, saying that “for insurance companies, the aging population was an opportunity to tap into new growth markets such as pension and health care insurance markets.”

Main speakers for the forum included Moon Jae-woo, chairman of the General Insurance Association of Korea and Norman Sorensen, chairman of the IIS.

Participants discussed issues such as low interest rates and the insurance industry during the second day of the three-day event.

By Kim Yon-se (kys@heraldcorp.com)
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