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Kyobo Life secures most-admired insurer title for 2nd consecutive year

Chairman Shin Chang-jae’s leadership shines in expediting ESG efforts

By Choi Ji-won

Published : Feb. 27, 2024 - 15:49

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Kyobo Life Insurance building in Gwanghwamun, central Seoul. (Kyobo Life Insurance) Kyobo Life Insurance building in Gwanghwamun, central Seoul. (Kyobo Life Insurance)

Kyobo Life Insurance has been named the nation's most-admired life insurer for the second consecutive year, reflecting CEO and Chair Shin Chang-jae's steadfast commitment to a sustainable management philosophy.

The Kyobo subsidiary announced it received the honor on Tuesday from the Korea Management Association Consulting, marking its second straight year being recognized as the top life insurer at KMAC's most-admired companies ceremony.

This year, Kyobo Life also secured a place in the top 30 among 150 nominees for the awards, clinching the "All Star" title for the first time.

For 21 years, KMAC has been unveiling the list of reputable companies, comprehensively evaluating corporations across diverse sectors based on their innovation, customer dedication, shareholder rewards, employee values and social contributions.

In accepting the honor on Tuesday, Kyobo Life underscored Shin's consistent dedication to environmental, social and governance, or ESG, management as foundational to building the company's reputation.

According to the firm, Shin has been practicing ESG management rooted in his sustainable management philosophy, which centers on the pursuit of common development with all the company's stakeholders.

This unique philosophy stems from Shin's diverse career, transitioning from a medical professor to the head of a life insurance company.

Kyobo Life Insurance Chairman and CEO Shin Chang-jae (Kyobo Life Insurance) Kyobo Life Insurance Chairman and CEO Shin Chang-jae (Kyobo Life Insurance)

With such a background, Shin joined Kyobo Life in 1996 and assumed the CEO post in 2000, navigating the firm through domestic and global financial crises and achieving substantial growth through sound and ethical leadership, ultimately establishing the company as one of the country's leading life insurers.

Under Shin's leadership, the firm has engaged in various social contribution activities, including the Kyobo Life Cup sports competition, which it has supported with 12 billion won ($9 million) since 1985, along with projects to aid children under institutional care and promote youth education.

Addressing fellow entrepreneurs at the YoonKyung ESG Forum last year, Shin emphasized the significance of ESG for companies.

"The financial industry bears a sense of responsibility to return to the customers," Shin remarked during the forum's 20th edition held in April.

According to Shin, companies must earn the trust of all stakeholders and advance with them by fulfilling ethical responsibilities as societal members while achieving outstanding business performance.

Shin's relentless efforts garnered recognition from global society.

Last year, the Kyobo Life CEO was appointed the 2023 Insurance Hall of Fame Laureate by the International Insurance Society. Dubbed the "Nobel Prize of insurance," the award recognizes visionaries who have made encompassing and enduring contributions to the industry through innovation.

Shin became the first legacy inductee in the society's 66-year history, following his father, Shin Yong-ho, the founder of Kyobo Life, who also won the award in 1996.

Shin also received the award for humane entrepreneurship from the International Council for Small Business at the SME World Forum in 2019.