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Insurers enter health care service market via digital platform

From home training program to vitamin shopping, insurers turn to health care market

A patient listens to instructions from a nurse at a health check-up kiosk set up by Shinhan Life in Gangnam, Seoul. (Shinhan Life)
A patient listens to instructions from a nurse at a health check-up kiosk set up by Shinhan Life in Gangnam, Seoul. (Shinhan Life)

South Korea’s leading insurance firms are set to offer customized health care services through digital platforms after a regulatory bar was lifted for offering non-financial services.

Amid fast growth of the elderly population, the government‘s plan to revitalize the health care industry coupled with the insurance sector’s needs to discover new revenue source prompt insurers to create digital health management solutions.

The Financial Services Commission last week allowed insurance companies to set up a health care subsidiary that provide services such as online shopping for health-related products or home workout programs.

Shinhan Life Insurance said last month it would spin off its digital health care platform service How-FIT as a subsidiary. How-FIT is an artificial intelligence-based home training service that uses motion recognition technology to analyze a user’s movements and manages repetitions and intensity of exercises.

The insurance firm inked a partnership with KT Olleh, the country’s largest IPTV provider, to provide the home workout service through KT’s platform.

Another business area that Shinhan Life is seeking to enter is sales of nutritional supplements.

Starting from Monday, the insurance firm will provide a customized health care service through a partnership with food company CJ CheilJedang.

The service enables Shinhan Life customers to check on their health conditions such as height, body composition, blood pressure and stress through a kiosk installed at a center in Gangnam, southern Seoul.

Based on the results, a nurse analyzes, provides consultation on necessary nutrients and recommends customized nutritional supplements. Customers can purchase health foods from CJ CheilJedang at a discounted price through Shinhan Card‘s online shopping outlet All That Shopping.

“We plan to expand the services that customers can receive from insurance companies from the protection of the insured in the event of death from disease or accident to health promotion services for healthy lifestyles,” a company official said.

KB Insurance, the insurance arm of KB Financial Group, has decided to seek an approval from financial authorities to establish a subsidiary specialized in digital health care.

Under its plan, the new firm will provide customized health management programs based on customer data and grant reward points to subscribers who achieve health improvements.

The service is expected to create synergy with its existing senior care business.

In 2016, KB Insurance incorporated KB Golden Life Care to run assisted living facilities and care centers.

KB Insurance plans to expand urban nursing facilities in large cities such as Seoul, Sejong, Ulsan, Busan, and Gwangju, where the elderly population has grown quickly.

By Park Han-na (hnpark@heraldcorp.com)
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