Korean Reinsurance Company (Korean Re), the Seoul-based reinsurer, has established a new branch in Zurich, Switzerland, as part of a push to expand into the European market.
The subsidiary, called Korean Reinsurance Switzerland AG, is licenced to start reinsurance business from June 1, 2019, the company disclosed.
It will be led by Markus A. Eugster, who until January 2019 was CEO and Global Head of Reinsurance at Sompo Canopius Re, based in Zurich.
Korean Re established the business as a Swiss company with USD $60 million of capital, and then acquired 100% of its shares, making it a wholly owned subsidiary.
The reinsurer first announced its plans to set up the Zurich office in January 2018 in an effort to diversify away from its domestic market and boost its premium volume.
Korean Re already operates in Europe from a base at Lloyd’s of London, but the new hub could also be a way for the company to ensure continuity for clients after Brexit.
Eugster, who will lead the Korean Re Switzerland, has spent over 20 years in the financial services industry, mostly in reinsurance and banking.
Following consulting mandates in the UK and Italy, he became Chief Underwriting Officer of Catlin Re Switzerland and subsequently joined Sompo Canopius Re.
In 2009, he founded his own consulting firm, MA Eugster Consulting, which focused on start up investments & advisory, turnaround/project management, and re/insurance strategy.
He has experience working across Asia, including in Japan and China, as well as in Europe, the U.S and Latin America.
Korean Re has historically been the only reinsurer operating in the South Korean market, but the Financial Supervisory Commission said last year that it had decided to authorise new reinsurers in order to stimulate competition.