Issue No. 14 April - June 2013
Message from the PresidentIndustry Events
Industry NewsFeature Article
Q&A with Annette King, President of LIA SingaporeQ&A with Tomas Urbanec

Message from the President

Photo of LIA President2013 first quarter sales show a nine per cent positive growth

The life insurance industry achieved a total of $561.8 million in weighted* new business premiums for the first quarter of 2013, a nine per cent increase over the same period in the previous year.

Regular premium products continued to fare well, totalling $428.9 million for this quarter, up by 19 per cent over the same period in 2012.

Single premium products continued to dip by 15 per cent, to $132.9 million of weighted single premiums, down from $157 million for the same period last year. Of this amount, 18 per cent comprised CPF-funded sales.

Overall, the industry has sustained a level of growth despite a slowing economy. It is encouraging to note that life insurance is weathering a cloudy outlook, possibly owing to the innovative portfolio of solutions offered by member companies.

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

Positive consumer feedback

The LIA was heartened to note that the consumer confidence index is on the rise. Earlier this year an independent survey conducted by the Institute of Service Excellence at the Singapore Management University (ISES) found that insurance customers are getting better quality and value. The 2012 Customer Satisfaction Index showed that the life insurance sector's service rating improved by nearly six per cent over the previous year to score 70.6 points (on a scale of 0 to 100).

We believe this stems from the industry's commitment to raise the knowledge and skills of life insurance representatives, both in the technical and consumer-service aspects as these are important to our customers.

CMFAS Module 9A requirement

In early 2012, the MAS introduced a new examination requirement for representatives providing advice on or arranging investment-linked policies (ILP's).

With 91.5 per cent of tied agents having passed the Module as at 13 June 2013, the industry is well on the way to having better qualified representatives.

Annette King

Industry Events

2nd SIAS Investment Week
13 to 19 April 2013, Various venues

SIAS Seminar - Photo1 SIAS Seminar - Photo2
SIAS Workshop SIAS Booths

A SIAS investor education initiative, the 2nd Singapore Investment Week (SIW) received unwavering support from members of the public and various financial industry partners.

This year's SIW was held successfully from 13 to 19 of April, drawing some 4,500 participants who attended the week-long investment programmes. We saw the addition of a Mandarin seminar, which was offered over and above the weekend investment seminars and daily evening workshops.

Gain Knowledge on Investing and Learn to Invest for a Secure Future was the theme for the week-long campaign, as SIAS continued in its mission to raise awareness of the importance of investing to secure one's financial future, help Singaporeans understand key investment principles, the various investment instruments and their associated risks.

Flying Dutchman - Photo1 Flying Dutchman - Photo2

Thirty speakers presented more than 30 topics over the Week. Radio personality, The Flying Dutchman, graced the event on 14 April, courtesy of LIA. He shared his near-death experience and encouraged participants to include life and health insurances as an integral part of their financial portfolio.

Inaugural Personal Data Protection Seminar and Launch of the Personal Data Protection Commission
15 May 2013, Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel

Guest of Honour - Photo1 Guest of Honour - Photo2
PDPC Chairman Launch of PDPC
Panelists Audience

Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, the Minister for Communications and Information, officiated as the Guest of Honour at the inaugural PDP Seminar cum launch of the PDP Commission (PDPC).

Headed by Leong Keng Thai as Chairman, the newly-created Commission is the agency to administer the Personal Data Protection Act. The Do Not Call registry requirements are slated to take effect on 2 January 2014 and the Personal Data Protection Act will be fully effective on 2 July 2014.

"The seminar facilitated frank sharing of knowledge and best practices amongst business practitioners. I particularly benefited from the speech by keynote speaker, Timothy Pilgrim, Privacy Commissioner, Australia  on the Australian experience. PDPC also launched a new brochure and checklist during the seminar which is a must have for a quick guide to PDPA for organisations" - Ms Sainava Bee Bee, Great Eastern Life

"I found the Seminar helpful, especially in highlighting challenges the PDPC will face outside of financial services. I was also encouraged by the Minister's observation that technological advances have given insights into customers' needs, wants and behaviours; which have allowed businesses to deliver personalised services and customised products. The PDPA then becomes a vehicle to ensure that personal data is not misused." - Lionel King, Prudential Assurance 

Seminar Theme: Data Protection Trends, Challenges and Benefits for Businesses Today

  • A Global Perspective on Data Protection and its Impact on Singapore - Keynote Speech by Timothy Pilgrim - Privacy Commissioner, Office of the Australian Information Commissioner
  • An Overview of the Singapore Personal Data Protection Regime by Amos Tan - Commission Member and Director (Communications & Operations), PDPC
  • Microsoft Fundamentals and Practices: A Trustworthy Computing Experience by John Galligan - Regional Director for Government Relations, Microsoft Asia Pacific
  • Privacy & Personal Data Protection: Benefits and Challenges for Marketers in Singapore by Jos. Birken - Vice Chairman, Direct Marketing Association Singapore
  • Personal Data Protection by Eddie Chau - Founder & Executive Director, iSentia Brandtology

Photos are reproduced by courtesy of the Personal Data Protection Commission

Swiss Life Singapore celebrates Five Year Anniversary
22 May 2013, Marina Bay Sands

Swiss Life - 5th Anniversary Celebration 

On Wednesday 22 May 2013, Swiss Life celebrated five years of business in Singapore. The anniversary event took place at Avalon, Marina Bay Sands and was attended by key business partners from leading private banks, brokers and asset managers. Sensational and upbeat ballroom dancing brought on the start of the event. One of the highlights was the special appearance by Kumar, a local comedian, which brought laughter into Avalon. 

Dance Performance Cake Cutting
VIPs Group Photo

Swiss Life Singapore is a subsidiary of Swiss Life Group offering bespoke structured life insurance solutions for high net worth individuals and global employee benefit solutions to multinational companies. The Singapore office was opened five years ago and was Swiss Life's first subsidiary outside of Europe in its 150 years of history. 

Mr Thomas Henze

Thomas Henze, CEO of the Singapore office, is proud of his team having set a solid foundation over the last five years in a challenging environment: "They have done an exquisite job to overcome obstacles and have set a solid foundation to ensure sustainable growth in the future."

FICS Distinction Evening
28 May 2013, Marina Bay Sands

Lawrence Wong, Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, and Board Member of the Monetary Authority of Singapore was the Guest of Honour at the Institute of Banking and Finance's (IBF) FICS* Distinction Evening on 28 May 2013.

*Financial Industry Competency Standards

FICS Distinction Evening - Photo1 FICS Distinction Evening - Photo2

Over 300 senior industry executives attended the event.

FICS Distinction Evening - Guest of Honour

In his keynote address, Acting Minister Wong emphasised that FICS must remain the bellwether for the industry and maintain high standards of competency expected of every financial services practitioner.

For his speech in full:

FICS Distinction Evening - Photo4
Lawrence Wong, Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth and Board Member MAS, and Wee Ee Cheong, Vice Chairman IBF Council and Deputy Chairman and CEO of United Overseas Bank with recipients of the Distinguished FICP and Friends of FICS Awards

He also presided over the conferment of the Distinguished Financial Industry Certified Professional (DFICP) and Friends of FICS Awards. The "Distinguished FICP" title is the highest certification mark for a financial practitioner in Singapore under the FICS framework. Outstanding Singaporeans were among the ten senior financial sector leaders who were conferred the DFICP title this year.

The Friends of FICS award confers recognition on IBF's key partners and stakeholders who have put in continuing commitment to human capital development through FICS.

Manulife celebrates Dumpling Festival with AWWA
3 June 2013, Ang Mo Kio

Manulife Singapore celebrated the Dumpling Festival in June with the elderly from the Asian Women's Welfare Association (AWWA). Some 120 participants were treated to ten-course dinner while they were entertained with a karaoke contest that featured 16 contestants from AWWA.

Manulife Celebration - Photo1

Some 40 volunteers from Manulife brought much cheer and merriment while they served dinner and mingled with the elderly. Other highlights of the event included games, lucky draw and angpow (gift of money in a red packet) distribution by Ms Annette King, President and CEO of Manulife Singapore.

Manulife Celebration - Photo2

Ms King said: "Manulife Singapore wanted to mark this occasion by doing something meaningful for the community while bringing some cheer and joy to the elderly during this festive period. It is a heart warming experience for us to be able to give back to our society and put smiles on so many faces. The volunteers thoroughly enjoyed themselves and it was great fun watching the elderly sing to their hearts' content!"

LIA Networking Evening
11 June 2013, Boulevard Restrobar (Red Dot Traffic Building)

LIA Networking Session in June - Photo1 LIA Networking Session in June - Photo2
LIA Networking Session in June - Photo3 LIA Networking Session in June - Photo4
LIA Networking Session in June - Photo5 LIA Networking Session in June - Photo6

Our regular series of networking evenings saw the largest number of friends and associates turn up, so far...cheers to more Smile

26th Pacific Insurance Conference, 27 to 30 October 2013, Hong Kong
Winning Strategies for the Next Generation
Pre-Conference Networking in Singapore
24 June 2013, Grand Hyatt Hotel

PIC Cocktail - Photo1 PIC Cocktail - Photo2
PIC Cocktail - Photo3 PIC Cocktail - Photo4
PIC Cocktail - Photo5 PIC Cocktail - Photo6

On 24 June, Michael Huddart, the 26th PIC Organising Committee Chairman, flew in from Hong Kong to host a meet and greet cocktail for almost 30 Singapore practitioners.

Who should attend

Life insurance, retirement savings and wealth management leaders:

  • CEOs
  • Senior management
  • Regulators
  • Educators
  • Senior consultants

For more information and registration, visit

Industry News

Singapore Reinsurance Market Contract Contracty Initiative
Implementation takes effect on 1 May and monthly reporting commences from 1 July 2013 

Seven workshops to cater to the whole market are being conducted by the Contract Certainty Work Group (CCWG) from mid-June to early July 2013 on how to register with the portal and file reports at the Contract Certainty portal.
Remaining workshops

Time: 10:00 to 11:30am
Venue: LIA Conference Room, 79 Anson Road #11-05

  • 2 July (Treaty)
  • 4 July (Facultative)
  • 9 July (Treaty and Facultative)

To register for a workshop, please contact Christine Wong at or call her on 6510 4938.

The portal is developed and maintained by the Singapore College of Insurance (SCI).

LIA produced a Life & Health Reinsurance Contract Checklist to serve as a guide for all life reinsurance and life insurance players. For a copy of the L&H Checklist, please go to

The Personal Data Protection Act 2012

It governs the collection, use and disclosure of personal data by private organisations in a way that recognises both the needs of individuals and organisations.

It contains two sets of requirements, covering personal data protection and the Do Not Call (DNC) registry.

The personal data protection requirements cover personal data stored in electronic and non-electronic forms.

The LIA has a Work Group and four Sub-Groups, which are crafting two industry documents, the LIA Code of Practice for Life Insurers, and the LIA Code of Conduct for Tied Agents. The Insurers' Code is intended for customers to gain an understanding of how the life insurance sector applies and complies with the Act. The Code for Agents is framed as an LIA Members' Undertaking. We are aiming for both Codes to receive the endorsement of the PDPC.

The LIA Work Group is co-chaired by Ms Sainava Bee Bee from Great Eastern Life and Lionel King from Prudential Assurance.
Institute of Policy Studies
Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy
National University of Singapore

Dialogue with Life Insurers
30 May 2013, LIA Office

The IPS conducted a workshop on Healthcare Financing for the Elderly in Singapore, which brought together policymakers, practitioners and academics to discuss sustainable solutions to increase healthcare financing coverage for the elderly.

Specifically examined was a Dutch model presented by Martin Bontje, former Managing Director of the Association of Dutch Healthcare Insurers and Chairman of the Association of General Practitioners, Netherlands. Jan van den Berg, President Asia of Pramerica Financial spoke on the Dutch Standard Package Policy that could be adopted as Singapore contemplates changes to its system of healthcare financing.

IPS-LIA Dialogue - Photo1 IPS-LIA Dialogue - Photo2
IPS-LIA Dialogue - Photo3

M/s Bontje and van den Berg, accompanied by Dr Jeremy Lim and IPS researcher, Christopher Gee, visited the LIA to share the Dutch model, which had proven to be effective and successful.

Staff from LIA member companies acknowledged that insurers potentially have a key role to play whilst stressing that viability and longer term sustainability will need to be addressed.

For more information on the Dutch model, please inquire with LIA.


  • Martin Bontje, Former Managing Director, Association of Dutch Healthcare Insurers
  • Dr Jeremy Lim, Adjunct Asst Professor, IPS, and Principal Consultant, Insights Health Associates
  • Dr Jan van den Berg, President Asia, Pramerica Financial Asia (a business of Prudential Financial, USA)
  • Christopher Gee, Research Associate, IPS
  • Ms Eileen Ching, AIA
  • Ms Cein Chen, AIA
  • Ms Shirley Tan, Aviva
  • Ms Grishma Dalvi, AXA Life
  • Ms Anita Tay, Manulife
  • Bevan Cheong, Manulife
  • Chan Han Eng, NTUC Income
  • Sean Ho, Tokio Marine Life
  • Gideon Tan, Swiss Re
  • Ms Pauline Lim, LIA

Great Eastern Life forms Live Great Advisory Council
24 June 2013

Great Eastern Life - Photo
Great Eastern Holdings Group CEO Chris Wei (centre) with Singapore CEO Dr Khoo Kah Siang (right) and Malaysia CEO Dato Koh Yaw Hui (left) at the announcement of the setting up of Great Eastern's Live Great Advisory Council

Great Eastern Life, which pioneered the industry's first integrated health and wellness programme in the region to help customers live healthier and better, has added another significant dimension to its Live Great Programme.

It is setting up the Live Great Advisory Council on health and wellness. The Council will be anchored via a collaboration with a renowned local academic institution for public health, with other members of the Council comprised of industry experts in their respective fields.

Chris Wei, Group CEO, Great Eastern Holdings Limited, commented: "We have long shared the government's vision for a healthy Singapore. The Live Great Advisory Council is a significant step in helping Great Eastern fulfill its vision to be a LIFE company, and help our customers live healthier, better and longer. The Council will play a pivotal role in providing expert best-in-class advice to Great Eastern and help us identify health and wellness trends as well as develop programmes for our customers in their journey to better health. The Council will be starting its work soon. In the third quarter of 2013, we will also be collaborating with the NUS School of Public Health to hold a series of Wellness Talks in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam.

Our customers tell us that what they are looking for is advice and support to meet the usual challenges on contemporary health issues like weight management, diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and back health. With that in mind, we have assembled several of our partners (listed below), all industry leaders in their respective fields, to provide our customers expert advice and professional support, starting with weight management. Our customers can tap their expertise as well as our Live Great Guides to proactively manage their weight issues.

  • Fitbit, the leading international provider of innovative fitness and tracking devices
  • Asics, one of the world's top performance footwear companies
  • Celebrity Fitness, Southeast Asia's largest health and fitness operator
  • Ma Kuang, Singapore's largest Traditional Chinese Medicine solutions provider and
  • Parkway Shenton, Singapore's leading provider of primary healthcare solutions

Added Mr Wei, "The advice, support and benefits from our extensive panel of partners are available to all of our customers. Unlike a rewards programme where you are required to spend upfront or upon redemption, our Live Great Programme requires none of that. This is our way of thanking our customers for their years of support and loyalty."

To reward customers for staying healthy, Great Eastern will also give cash rewards up to 30% of the annual premium for PayAssure customers if they are assessed to be healthy upon the renewal of their policy. PayAssure is the first plan in Asia to pay a monthly income benefit for policyholders who are unable to work in their own occupation due to disability arising from an illness or injury, up to retirement age of 65 years.

Recognising the increasing trend of mobile apps as a popular self-monitoring tool, Great Eastern has developed the Live Great - Health and Wellness App to help customers turn to better lifestyle habits and stay motivated. The App, which combines the key components of the Live Great Programme - Wellness Profiling lite, Great Eastern 21 Days App, tips and articles as well as Live Great card member privileges - will be available in July 2013.

Feature Article

Singaporeans will need two-thirds of their current income to have a decent retirement life
By Walter de Oude, CEO, HSBC Insurance (Singapore)

Walter de OudeAccording to HSBC's Future of Retirement study conducted in 2012 entitled A New Reality, 66% of Singaporeans need two-thirds of current income to stay comfortable in retirement. This works out to be S$60,400 or S$5,033 per month, which is 68% more than the 2011 study where the figure was S$3,000 per month.

Cash remains a big part of Singaporeans' wealth portfolio. On what makes up retirement income, the study found that the largest proportion will come from cash savings and deposits which constitutes a third (34%) of retirement income here, followed by investments (19%), and property income and assets (12%).

There seems to be large reliance on cash. Given that the inflation rate is higher than the interest rates in Singapore, cash is not the ideal source of retirement funding. Hence, our financial advisers have been putting in more effort and resources than ever to help raise awareness on retirement planning and suitable financial instruments that the life insurance industry offers.

Forty-seven per cent of Singaporeans are anxious about how they will be able to keep up with their current standards of living when they retire. It is, therefore, not surprising that the top three fears accompanying these aspirations about retirement are poor health (70%), financial hardship (62%) and not having enough money to provide for good healthcare (60%). Given these fears, the life industry plays a key role in offering solutions and allaying fears through critical illness and medical insurance plans.

Respondents who use professional financial advisers generally have 47% more in retirement funds than those who do not use any professional financial adviser. This is the advantage of structured financial planning.

More than 1,000 Singaporeans participated in the survey. For more information about The Future of Retirement, visit

Q&A with Annette King, President of LIA Singapore

Annette King - Photo2"Feel the fear... and do it anyway."

This is newly appointed President of the Life Insurance Association Annette King's guiding philosophy in work and life.

Her new role comes at a momentous time in the life industry as it shifts towards raising the competency and professionalism levels of representatives to meet the changing needs of lifestyles and financial savvy of Singaporeans.

Annette shares how her role is both an honour and a responsibility. "There is a lot of change happening in our industry - we are at a pivot point as we move into the next phase of our industry's development. The focus is very much on better client outcomes and humanising the work we do for society and for our clients," she says.

A veteran in her field, Annette joined the life insurance industry at a tender age of 17. "I wore my school uniform to my first interview! Colonial Mutual sponsored me while I was at university and I did internships and then worked for them for eight years after university in a variety of different roles. I was moved to a new role approximately every 12 months," she muses.

She then moved into pension consulting at Jacques Martin as a consulting actuary and proceeded to managing the consulting business in the actuarial, investment, legal and communication sectors.

By age 28, Annette was running her first P&L. From there, she moved to Mercer to establish their Client Management Practice spanning across seven business units. She spent seven more years at AXA Australia, running its portfolio administration business.

She moved to Singapore in 2004 where she served as AXA Singapore's CFO and then as their Chief Marketing & Strategy Officer. In 2010, Annette joined Manulife Singapore as its CEO, growing the business at twice the market growth rate over the period.

"I have been in the industry for 27 years! There have been lots of amazing moments in my career. I have been very lucky," she chirps.

She is proud of how the professionalism of financial advice has increased significantly through the years. "Products have become simple and the documentation for clients has become overwhelming! Some things have changed for the better and some things need improvement. But we should be proud of what our industry does for society, giving individuals and families financial security against unforeseen circumstances, and also saving and investing for the future. We still need to keep working on the areas that have room for improvement, like simplicity and understandability for clients," Annette continues. 

She hopes that in five years, the life industry will become a stronger industry - focused on clients receiving great financial advice and appropriate, well-understood. value-creating solutions for their needs.

Annette King - Photo3

"I hope to help as many people as possible secure their family's future as well as to help them have happy, healthy and well-funded retirements," Annette enthused.

Happily married with three children, Annette celebrated her 20th wedding anniversary earlier this year and counts her family as her sources of inspirations in life.

"It was a wonderful experience on so many levels. I wore my original wedding dress for a reconfirmation of vows in a ceremony that was witnessed by our three children and close friends!  It was a very special occasion," she says.

Annette King - Photo4

LifeWire also spoke to Annette to find out some personal fun facts about herself. 

Q. What irks you the most?

Too much air conditioning. I hate to be cold!
Q. What drives/motivates you?

I like doing something that makes a difference. Our industry helps people and I have seen it first-hand.
Q. What would you consider your strengths?

Strategy, my focus on clients and staff, clear communication.
Q. And your weaknesses? How do you overcome them?

Cheese! I live in Asia where it is easy to avoid!

Q&A with Tomas Urbanec

Tomas Urbanec - Photo1With over 20 years of experience in the consumer financial services industry across the globe in cities such as Hong Kong, Athens, Tokyo and Shanghai, Tomas Urbanec considers his role as Chief Executive Officer of Prudential Assurance Company Singapore (Private) Limited in Singapore a key point in his career.

"I have been working in the insurance industry in Asia for 13 years. Being given the honour to lead a great team like Prudential Singapore has definitely been a highlight in my career," he enthused.

Tomas also speaks of a unique opportunity in 2007 where he was seconded to an insurance company in mainland China. "Working there for over a year gave me interesting insights into how business is conducted in a state-owned organisation," he says.

His love for Asia and Singapore in particular has led him to permanently make Singapore his home. Tomas shares, "I was granted Singapore Permanent Residency last year. I am also looking forward to becoming a Singapore Citizen as soon as I am eligible. I think Singapore is a great place with great people. I plan to work and live here for a very long time."

As CEO, Tomas has a simple vision that is dedicated wholly to ensuring customers receive the best financial advice and solutions possible. "My focus is on helping others achieve their goals and helping to make the people around me successful. Whatever personal accomplishments that result from that are secondary," he offers.

A passionate and committed individual, Tomas shares why he is eager to get into the office every morning. "I love my job because it gives me the opportunity to make a positive impact on other people's lives. Through my work, I am able to help others build their careers and take care of their families."

A dedicated, passionate and hardworking individual, Tomas also shared some of personal thoughts on life and little known facts with us.

Q: What do you usually do in your leisure time? 

I get up at 4.30am, attend to emails for an hour and then go for a nice 10km run.

Tomas Urbanec = Photo2 Tomas Urbanec - Photo3

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

I ran 9 half marathons last year and I'm planning to run 4 half marathons in the last 4 months of this year.

Q: Who are your inspirations in life?

My parents are a constant source of inspiration for me. They migrated from the Czech Republic to the United States of America, leaving friends and family behind to build a new life. Their story is the classic American success story.

Unsubscribe Terms of use