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Beware of Kyobo Life (교보생명)
« on: July 27, 2016, 07:59:02 pm »
A family friend and Kyobo Life financial planner (FP) sold me 2 products. They turned out to be very different from her explanation and totally unsuitable for my circumstances. What I had purchased were 2 variable annuities (변액연금).

I phoned and met Kyobo Life employees numerous times to complain about the misrepresentation and find out details about the charges and commission related to the products. Promises to address my concerns were repeatedly broken. Also, I did not appreciate it when they wanted me to sign a blank document and agree not to let others know about the charges and commission.

After more than month without progress, I had had enough and threatened to complain to the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS or 금용감동원). As a result I received a document setting out the FPs commission. The rate is high (certainly much higher than products that suited my circumstances) and the FP was, no doubt, motivated by this fact rather than my welfare when pushing the products. 

When I still did not receive a breakdown of the charges, I lodged a complaint with the FSS. It turns out that it is a toothless organization when it comes to complaints such as mine; it can merely make unenforceable recommendations.

Eventually, though, I did receive a partial breakdown of the charges. For every monthly payment I made, more than 10% was taken off the top! These variable annuities were bad investments.

Even though Kyobo Life is one of the largest life insurers in South Korea, no one can (apparently) speak English and no one answers the English call center number.

The lessons I have learned are to:
1) Distrust insurance salespeople;
2) Avoid variable annuities; and
3) Avoid Kyobo Life.


  • FORHAIRkorea
  • Veteran

    • 81

    • March 07, 2016, 10:18:58 am
    • Seoul, Korea
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Re: Beware of Kyobo Life (교보생명)
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2016, 09:27:25 am »
Terribly sorry to hear about your situation, especially if you met the insurance salesperson through a family friend.

From what I know about variable annuities (변액연금), they are definitely long term 'investments'. Not sure what your situation was or what exactly influenced you to go for the 변액연금, but these products are hard to 'cash in' (being an insurance policy and all, all potentially collectible in the future).

Regarding your lessons, I'd like to add my 2 cents: (based from working in/with the insurance industry in Korea)
1) Before I started the gig, the term 'insurance salesman' turned me off automatically. After working though, I met people from all walks of life and most were definitely down-to-earth, and genuine. Some of these guys grew up in utmost poverty, and came from the boonies (outside Seoul, I met a surprisingly almost near amount of people from Jeollado/Gyeongsangdo).
However, even these people once they climbed the 'ranks', got influenced by the $$ in some fashion. Perhaps your guy is an example of this [thinking about his numbers more than caring about your details]
2) I don't know your details, but variable annuities CAN be helpful, it just takes probably min. 7 years to see ANY benefit. (I also consider 7 years a long period of time). If you wanted something 'similar' to invest, I'd say look into other things or go enjoy some drinks?  :P
3) It's very unfortunate and I think the language barrier, misrepresentation, and lack of details from that Kyobo salesman played a huge role in your ordeal. There are many people in Korea that can try to 'nickel and dime' you. (I've been fleeced a few times..)

Getting life insurance in Korea can be very tricky, especially due to the lack of English speaking salesmen. We're the minority here, so I guess it kinda makes sense that most companies (being Korean) don't have English call centers/support.

I really hope you can move past this ordeal, darn those Korean life insurance guys! (some of them anyway..)

Cheers  :police:
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