Issue No. 10 April - June 2012
Message from the PresidentIndustry Events
Industry NewsQ&A with Lance Tay
Q&A with Christopher Lee

Message from the President

Photo of LIA PresidentA cautious start for 2012

The life insurance industry entered 2012 with a 12 per cent growth in the first quarter. Weighted new business premiums rose to $517million, up from $460 million achieved in the same quarter last year.

This performance was supported by regular premium sales, which contributed $360 million (weighted) in the first quarter, a 22 per cent growth over the same period in 2011.

There was however, a decline of five per cent for single premium products - at $157 million of weighted single premiums, down from $166 million for last year. Of this amount, 15 per cent comprised CPF-funded sales.

Weighted new business premium is calculated as: 10% SPI + 100% API with adjustment for premium payment terms of less than 10 years

Know Your Customer

Eighty-six per cent of new life insurance applications were completed with a full or partial fact-find, a 9 per cent increase over the 2011 corresponding quarter.

We strongly believe in the value of the fact-find process and the sustained quarter-on-quarter improvement in the fact-find experience suggests that our representatives are actively engaging consumers to consider solutions only after evaluating their financial needs, goals and means.

Singaporeans trust their life insurance representatives and perceive the life insurance industry positively

A recent consumer survey commissioned by the Life Insurance Association reveals that a majority of Singaporeans and permanent residents perceive the Singapore industry well and trust the life insurance representatives who serve them.

The findings provide a baseline for measuring industry's progress in delivering fair dealing to customers. The survey also sheds light on consumers' knowledge, perceptions and attitudes toward life insurance products, and this helps industry to better understand the average Singaporean's interactions with life insurance companies and other financial institutions.

Door-to-door interviews of 800 respondents representing Singapore's demographics were conducted between November 2011 and January 2012 by Ipsos, an independent market research company.

Key findings

Of the respondents interviewed:

  • 72 per cent are "Very Satisfied" and "Satisfied" with the life insurance industry as a whole.
  • 76 per cent place high trust in the overall competency of their representatives.
    • 69 per cent of Life Insurance Users rely on only one trusted agent.
  • 77 per cent are aware that their representative's remuneration comes from their premiums.
    • 91 per cent consider the remuneration system to be reasonable or have no strong feelings about it.
  • 80 per cent say that financial advice is crucial when they make purchase decisions.
    • 92 per cent of Life Insurance Users who went through a full/partial fact-find in the past 3 years say they benefited from the process.

Life insurance representatives are vital

Respondents who felt confident in their knowledge of life insurance products say they still require advice when making purchase decisions.

This finding affirms that life insurance representatives have a critical role - providing quality financial advice to people from all walks of life.

For more details on the Consumer Survey, go to: http://www.lia.org.sg/news/consumer_survey

LIA President Signature

Tan Hak Leh

Industry Events

Singapore Actuarial Society - Life Insurance Association Retirement Conference 2012
12 - 13 April 2012, Hilton Singapore

Improving Retirement Security in Singapore

  • Identifying and defining the issue
  • Innovative approaches to improving retirement security

Guest of Honour: Tan Chuan Jin, Minister of State for National Development and Manpower

Special Address: Yee Ping Yi, CEO, Central Provident Fund Board

   
Keith Walter Panel - Photo1
Professor Michael Sherris Professor Sarah Harper Minister of State Chief Executive of CPF Board
Panel - Photo2 Audience

A note from Keith Walter, Organising Committee Chairman
 
Jointly sponsored by the Singapore Actuarial Society (SAS) and the Life Insurance Association, the 2012 Conference featured international experts in longevity and ageing including Professor Michael Sherris from the University of NSW and Professor Sarah Harper, Director Oxford Institute of Ageing. The conference programme also included a number of industry experts and panelists covering a wide range of topics.

We were also very pleased to have Minister of State Tan Chuan Jin open the conference with an insightful address and Mr Yee Ping Yi, Chief Executive of the CPF Board, provide further insights into the current and future state of the CPF in Singapore.

The conference was a great success, attracting more than 100 participants and bringing a focus to this very important issue. As we heard throughout the conference, the demographic structure of Singapore is changing rapidly, and as a society, we need to prepare for the future.

We are also very pleased that the conference attendees were engaged in discussion during the event and generated a significant number of new ideas for future consideration and development.

As an incentive for participation, the organising committee offered a prize of an iPad to the individual who submitted the "best idea to improve retirement security in Singapore".  

We are very pleased to report that we received a number of submissions. From this long list, the committee selected PardhaViswanadha and his ideas on longevity risk transfer as the winner of the iPad.

Mr Pardha
Pardha receiving his prize from some of the committee members

In the future, the SAS and the LIA will continue to work together to develop solutions to improve retirement security, and there will be a number of task forces considering specific aspects of this issue in the coming months and years.
 
Great Eastern launches "Live Great" Integrated Health and Wellness Programme
7 May 2012

Great Eastern's "Live Great" - Photo1
Great Eastern Holdings Chairman, Mrs Fang Ai Lian and Group CEO Chris Wei launch Great Eastern's "Live Great" Integrated Health and Wellness Programme

Great Eastern Group has launched "Live Great", the first integrated Health and Wellness programme by an insurance company in the region.

The company believes there will never be another you to love your family as you can and that while life insurance is important, it can never replace what matters most to them.

The aim is to help Great Eastern customers turn their intentions into action as they purpose to embark on a journey to live better, healthier and longer.

Great Eastern's "Live Great" - Photo2

The comprehensive integrated programme comprises five components:

  • Wellness tools
    On-line "Great Eastern Wellness Profiling", a simple health risk assessment to determine how the customer fares in terms of lifestyle and what actions to take to live better; BMI Calculator; Daily Calorie Needs Calculator; Body Fat Calculator
  • Health tips
    Specialised partners provide health and wellness tips, articles and recipes via a dedicated portal: https://livegreat.greateasternlife.com/
  • Mobile apps
    "Great Eastern 21 Days" App helps customer to form a new good habit over 21 days. For example, individuals who want to lose weight can set up to three alarms a day before every meal to remind them to eat healthy.
  • Workshops & Events
    Workshops and events relating to health and wellness for customers; Flagship event, "Great Eastern Women's Run", Asia's largest women-only run; Sponsorship of "Great Eastern-YEO's S.League" to promote healthy lifestyle through sports, in particular among primary school children.
  • Exclusive Privileges
    Customers may join the "Live Great" loyalty programme to enjoy exclusive health and wellness benefits and privileges at over 700 participating establishments across Southeast Asia.

Commented Group CEO, Chris Wei: "We have gone beyond the traditional role of an insurance company. We believe that insurance can never replace what matters most to your family, which is you. We embarked on our 'There Will Never Be Another You' consumer campaign in the last two months where the key message is 'each individual is unique and irreplaceable'. I'm delighted that the campaign has been well received. Our heart-warming commercial on Youtube attracted 150,000 views and our Facebook page quickly attracted 30,000 Likes within two months.

"With the launch of our "Live Great" programme, we are delivering on our promise to our customers to help them live healthier, better and longer. This is certainly a game changer for Great Eastern. I am confident the programme will enable us to not only deliver a unique customer experience but also enable us to better engage our four million customers everyday. After all, we're a LIFE company."

Manulife celebrates 125th anniversary
Treat for 125 underprivileged children
16 June 2012, Singapore Zoo

Manulife's Zoo Tour

Manulife's Games

In honour of Manulife Financial's 125th anniversary, Manulife Singapore partnered with the Community Chest and treated 125 underprivileged children from the Whispering Hearts Family Service Centre (WHFSC) & PPIS Family Service Centre to an outing at the Singapore Zoo.
 
The children aged seven to 12 were chaperoned by senior management, staff and the children's parents. They enjoyed a tram ride around the zoo and received goodie bags filled with Manulife-branded souvenirs from its 125 years of history. The children were entertained with a comedy skit and magic show that brought much joy and laughter as they interacted with the performers. After breakfast, Manulife volunteers accompanied the children around the zoo. 

Ms Annette King

"As our global company celebrates 125 years of providing clients strong, reliable, trustworthy and forward-thinking financial solutions, we wanted to mark this occasion by doing something meaningful for the community," said Ms Annette King, President and CEO of Manulife Singapore.

"During the June school holidays every child should have the opportunity to visit the zoo and brighten their holidays. It is very gratifying to see Manulife staff volunteering their time during the weekend just so that they can put a smile across the faces of these 125 underprivileged children. This is Manulife's small contribution and I hope the kids enjoyed it as much as we did," continued Ms King.

LIA Networking Evening
18 June 2012, Five Izakaya Bar

Drink Session - Photo9
Drink Session - Photo1 Drink Session - Photo2
Drink Session - Photo3 Drink Session - Photo4
Drink Session - Photo5 Drink Session - Photo6
Drink Session - Photo7 Drink Session - Photo8

Industry News

Newest member of the LIA Singapore: Zurich Life Insurance (Singapore)

Zurich Life was admitted into membership on 21 May 2012.

Zurich International Life Limited (Singapore Branch) has been operating here since 2006 with a license to offer protection, saving and investment plans to expatriates and high net worth individuals.

Zurich Insurance Group is a leading multi-line insurance provider with a global network of subsidiaries and offices in Europe, North America, Latin America, Asia-Pacific and the Middle East as well as other markets. It offers a wide range of general insurance and life insurance products and services for individuals, small businesses, mid-sized and large companies as well as multinational corporations. Zurich employs about 60,000 people in more than 170 countries. The Group, formerly known as Zurich Financial Services Group, is headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, where it was founded in 1872.

Being part of Zurich Insurance Group, Zurich Life Insurance (Singapore) Pte. Ltd. offers a comprehensive suite of life insurance, investment, savings and protection solutions to individuals and corporate consumers.

Zurich launches new subsidiary in Singapore
18 April 2012, Marina Mandarin Singapore

Zurich Life Launch - Photo1

Zurich Life Launch - Photo2

The new licence enables Zurich to serve more domestic customers in Singapore with a wider range of products to complement its existing products offered through the existing branch of Zurich International Life.

Mr Graham Morrall

Mr Graham Morrall, CEO of Zurich Life Insurance (Singapore), said: "The launch of the new subsidiary reaffirms our commitment to the Singapore market, and positions us for further profitable growth. We aspire to be the best insurer for the affluent and emerging affluent customer segments, as measured by our customers, distributors and employees. Singapore is a market with relatively high concentration of wealthy and high net worth individuals, where we see considerable growth potential in our target segments."

Putting the "sure" in insurance

A lack of transparency and clarity remain top concerns for many consumers when buying life insurance. To ease the worries, Zurich endeavours to offer customers products and services that are easy to understand at every step of the way from application to purchase and claims.

Mr. Morrall added, "By "putting the 'sure' in insurance", Zurich is committed to provide the right solutions by offering clarity, simplicity and surety. To reach out to more customers, we are implementing a multi-distribution strategy through close collaboration with our trusted distribution partners who also hold our core value of customer centricity. We are keen to expand our distribution channels and attract the best talent to join us, by equipping them with the necessary tools and training to deliver the best to our customers."

Zurich has opened a new modern Business Centre for customers to meet financial professionals to discuss their financial planning needs.

1st Mid-Year Meeting of the ASEAN Insurance Council (AIC)
7 - 8 May 2012, M Hotel Singapore

  • Welcome Dinner
    Gattopardo Italian Grill & Pizza Bar
  • Closing Dinner
    Jim Thompson Thai Restaurant

AIC Meeting - Photo1

AIC Meeting - Photo2

AIC Meeting - Photo3

The one-day meeting was a fruitful time for draft questionnaires to be endorsed and updates from the various specialist subject streams to be shared for guidance.

The highlight was a presentation on the progress and latest status of the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement 2015 (AFTA) by Dr A Rillo, Director & Chief Economist of the ASEAN Integration Monitoring Office.

Harmonisation of Capital & Solvency Rules - LIA, Singapore

LIA Singapore drafted a survey to ascertain the current regulations in member countries, for submission to the ASEAN Insurance Regulators at the annual meeting, which has been scheduled for December 2012 in Bangkok, Thailand. The survey returns are due by 31 July.

Consultation on Operational Preparedness for Payment of Compensation
Briefing conducted by Singapore Deposit Insurance Corporation (SDIC)
18 May 2012, MAS Building

Regulation 9 of the Deposit Insurance and Policy Owners' Protection Schemes (Policy Owners' Protection Scheme) Regulations 2011 sets out requirements for Scheme Members on operational preparedness for payment of compensation in respect of (a) Submission of payout information to SDIC; and (b) Participation of Scheme Members in simulation exercises to test preparedness.

The briefing was attended by life insurers' staff looking after compliance, claims, IT and policy administration functions.

To kick start the consultation process, SDIC officers presented its draft framework and survey form to obtain inputs from insurers, as follows:

  • Business Rules
  • PPF Payout Architecture
  • Data Requirements
  • Data Structure and Format
  • Data Handling Procedures and Standards
  • Survey Administration Details

Tokio Marine Life Insurance Singapore appoints Lance Tay as Chief Executive Officer
1 May 2012

Lance Tay

Effective 1 May, the Board of Tokio Marine Life Insurance Singapore appointed Lance Tay as Chief Executive.

Mr Tay, 51, joined TMLS in 2010 as Head of Partnership Distribution. Lance takes over the helm from Mr David Beynon.

Lance has over 27 years experience in the life insurance industry, previously holding key positions in Singapore and the region, including Deputy CEO & COO of John Hancock Singapore and Chief Marketing Officer of AIA Singapore.

He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer & Information Science from the University of Florida and is a Fellow of the Life Management Institute (LOMA, USA).

Mr Tay said, "It is a great honour to be appointed as CEO of TMLS. David Beynon is a well regarded veteran in the industry and his leadership approach has energised the company. With this drive, our priority will be to deepen the collaborative relationships with our distribution channels and to develop new and meaningful ways to meet the financial needs of Singaporeans".

Great Eastern promotes Dr Khoo Kah Siang to Chief Executive Officer for its Singapore Business
1 June 2012

Dr Khoo Kah Siang

Great Eastern Holdings Limited has promoted Dr Khoo Kah Siang to Chief Executive Officer for its Singapore business effective 1 June 2012. He is also Chairman of Great Eastern Financial Advisers.

Dr Khoo, 44, was most recently General Manager (Singapore). He joined Great Eastern Life in 2006 as Head of Group Corporate Finance and has held several portfolios in the company since, including Head of Group Actuarial, Appointed Actuary, as well as Chief Financial Officer.

Kah Siang has spent 17 years in the financial sector, including four years as Deputy Director with the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

A Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries, UK, Dr Khoo also holds a Doctorate in Statistics from the University of Kent, Canterbury, UK.

Chris Wei, Group CEO, Great Eastern Holdings said, "We have a deep bench strength at Great Eastern and Kah Siang's promotion is a strong testament to that. Singapore is a core market for the Great Eastern Group and Kah Siang will continue to play a crucial strategic role in the disciplined execution of our strategies to grow the Singapore business as we strive to better meet the needs of our customers and deliver quality and sustained value to our shareholders.

Dr Khoo commented, "I am honoured to be given the opportunity to build on the success of the company. I will be leveraging Great Eastern's strengths, including our strong brand equity, comprehensive suite of products, dedicated employees and distribution force, as well as being a key member of the OCBC Group, to drive our business forward and keep Great Eastern at the forefront of the industry."

Distinguished Financial Industry Certified Professionals of 2012
DFICP Conferment Ceremony
22 May 2012, Marriott Hotel Singapore

The DFICP title has been conferred since 2007, and represents the highest certification mark under the FICS framework.

DFICPs are recognised by the industry to have:

  • achieved internationally-benchmarked competency standards of the chosen financial services 'job family'
  • demonstrated the ability to apply expert levels of knowledge and skills on the job in accordance with industry best practices
  • agreed to act as role models for other industry practitioners and aspirants and support the professional development efforts of the FICS framework.

Financial Industry Competency Standards (FICS)
- a set of competency standards developed by the industry, for the industry; for more information, go to www.fics.org.sg

The Institute of Banking and Finance (IBF)
To raise the quality of the financial services workforce and training providers, IBF launched the FICS in 2005 with the support of the MAS, Workforce Development Agency and financial industry players. IBF serves as the national accreditation and certification agency for FICS.

Patrick Chen, DFICP - Life Insurance (Underwriting)
Chief Operations Officer
Great Eastern Life

Patrick Chen

"I am very honoured to receive the award and the recognition that accompanies it. This would not have been possible if not for the support of LIA and Great Eastern who nominated and sponsored my participation. IBF has done a great job in setting up the FICS, which fills a gap in the financial industry by recognising the competency of its own practitioners. I am grateful for the opportunity to have played a part in it. I wish that going forward there will be more industry members who will participate in the certification courses and make FICS an international brand."

A 30-year veteran in the life insurance industry, Patrick's wide-ranging experience includes product development, marketing, operations, bancassurance and customer service. He holds a Bachelor of Science (Actuarial Science) from the London School of Economics.
 
Patrick represented the LIA on the FICS Steering Committee from 2003 to 2005, and again from 2007 to 2011, as well as being the convenor of the LIA Work Group on FICS.

Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam Mr Ravi Menon
DFICPs
Audience

Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam was the Guest of Honour. He elaborated on IBF's plans for review of FICS, and spoke on grooming Singaporeans for key positions in financial services.

For his speech, go to: http://www.mas.gov.sg/News-and-Publications/Monetary-Policy-Statements-and-Speeches/2012/Speech-by-Mr-Tharman-Shanmugaratnam-DPM-Chairman-of-MAS-at-the-FICS-Annual-Conf-2012.aspx

Visitors to LIA Singapore

9 May 2012
George C. Mina
General Manager, Philippine Life Insurance Association

Mr George C. Mina

George took the opportunity to drop by the LIA office during the mid-year working meeting of the ASEAN Insurance Council, which was held in Singapore on 8 May.
 
21 June 2012
Takao Tajiri
Corporate Planning, Sony Financial Holdings Inc

Mr Takao Tajiri

Sony Financial Holdings of Japan is in preliminary stages of exploring the possibility and viability of financial business in Singapore.

27 June 2012
Henrik Skafte
JLT Reinsurance Brokers Limited, Basel

Mr Henrik Skafte

Henrik visited Singapore to complete his thesis, which evaluates the reinsurance opportunities in the life insurance segment, as well as to look at developments in the direct insurance market in relation to possibilities of establishing such opportunities.

Q&A with Lance Tay

Lance Tay - Photo1With an illustrious career portfolio and a stellar academic record, one can see how Lance Tay is a natural fit for his new position.

As Chief Executive Officer and Director of Tokio Marine Life Insurance Singapore (TMLS), Lance not only chairs several committees of the company - Executive Management, Product Development, Risk Management, IT Steering, Compensation and Claims - but he is also responsible for spearheading TMLS into its next chapter of growth.

"Walk the talk." Lance shared with Lifewire that he, as the head of the company, finds that it is important for him to lead his staff by example.

He added: "There are five core business/leadership values that I truly believe in and they are transparency, meritocracy, sense of fair play, respect for individuals, and work hard/play hard.  At the end of the day, I want my staff to enjoy what they do and look forward to going to work.  This enhances working relationships and of course, productivity."

Lance graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Science in Computer & Information Science and is a Fellow of the Life Management Institute (LOMA, USA). With over 27 years of experience in the life insurance industry under his belt, the industry veteran has held a notable number of senior local and regional management positions, including his previous role as Senior Vice President and Head of Partnership Distribution at TMLS.

Prior to TMLS, Lance was the Chief Market Officer  of AIA Singapore and the Deputy CEO and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of John Hancock Singapore - of which he shared that his role as Deputy CEO and COO where he was responsible for the management and growth of the local business, was a highlight in his career.

So, what motivates this man? "Sense of achievement," he said. As a people-oriented individual, Lance personally rates his interpersonal skills and positive mindset as some of his strengths.  While no man is perfect, Lance recognises the need for him to be aware of his weaknesses in order to overcome them. For him, he finds that he can get over cautious and detail oriented sometimes, but he has since learnt to let go through the delegation of work to his trusted team, which resulted in enhanced productivity and efficiency.

Lance, who truly believes in his core values, knows when to work hard and play hard. In his leisure pursuit, the golf enthusiast plays his favourite sport every week. The family man enjoys spending quality time with his family and friends after a hard day's work. Describing himself as a 'beach' person, he enjoys travelling to beach resorts and ensures that he brings the family to one every year. When we asked the expert for recommendations on beach travels, he said: "Phuket and Bali are good for short vacation but the Maldives would be the ultimate beach getaway."

Lance Tay - Photo3

Lance is married to his wife, Tina and the couple has a 16-year-old son, Sean. He shares with Lifewire some personal facts.

Q: What do you hope to achieve in life? 

Being able to do anything I want with my family and friends.

Q: A couple of my proudest moments were....

The day I married my lovely wife, Tina and without a doubt, the birth of our son, Sean.

Lance Tay - Photo2

Complete the sentence:  I love life because....

Life has been good! (I live life to the fullest!Smile)

Q&A with Christopher Lee

Christopher LeeChristopher Lee is the Director and Head of Client Markets for Life and Health reinsurance business at Swiss Reinsurance Company Ltd (Swiss Re). In his role, Chris is responsible for the company's life and health business in the South East Asian region. 

Chris, who was notably enthused to share more about his work said: "It's been a good four years (and still counting!) at Swiss Re. The markets in South East Asia are very diverse, ranging from emerging markets to more developed ones, which also means that the demands in each individual market  varies. Overall, managing the businesses in these markets can be quite challenging but at the same time interesting, adding more 'colours' to our daily lives."

He added: "Thanks to the support from my colleagues, we are able to take on all challenges overcome any obstacles and create solutions that would meet with the demands of our clients, and ultimately the end consumers." Chris, who graduated from the University of Calgary with a BSc in Actuarial Science, remains actively involved in the insurance and financial playground.

Prior to joining Swiss Re, Chris was with another reinsurer for four years and has had 16-year experience in the life insurance companies which spans across areas of Actuarial, Marketing and Operations, equipping him with the appropriate set of skills and knowledge on the operations of a life insurance firm - an advantage for his current management role.

A highly motivated individual who stands by his philosophy: "A good delivery and solid timeline", Chris strives to do his utmost best in every role that he has taken on in his career path. While most of us may buckle under stress, Chris told us that he thrives under the additional pressure. "Sometimes, you just need a little stress to get things going."

Chris, who is straightforward and candid, finds that his personality works as a strength and weakness for him: He is able to communicate his plans clearly to his team but he finds that he may come across as blunt at times. As such, he engages with his team in smaller groups. He added: "In a smaller group, I'm able to have engaging dialogue with each of them which usually converge to full agreement."

Married with a lovely wife and two children, he keeps in mind the importance of work-life balance and a well-rounded lifestyle, ensuring that he sets aside time (especially on weekends) for family bonding and his leisure activities. Although he often travels for work, he shared that he makes it a point to take his family for at least one holiday (usually in December). This year end, the entire family is aiming to explore Canada - a destination that he has not been visited since graduation.

Chris shares with Lifewire more about his personal life.

Q: How do you wind down after a hard day's work?

Spending time with family is one of the most important things for me. As busy as we (my family) all are, we try to have family dinners as much as possible.

Q: Tell us about a little-known fact about yourself.

I'm a certified diver! I got my license when I was 19 or 20 years old - I used to dive frequently back in those days.

Q: A couple of my proudest moments were....

Definitely the day I married my wife. We finally settled down after eight years of courtship! And of course, the birth of my two kids who have brought joy (and pains) into my life.

Q: Complete the sentence:  I love life because....

It's unpredictable, challenging and it keeps me occupied all the time!

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