Issue No. 34 April - June 2018
Message from the PresidentIndustry Events
Industry NewsQ&A with Abhishek Bhatia

Message from the President

LIA President - Mr Patrick Teow

Positive start to 2018 for the life insurance industry

We started 2018 positively, recording S$925.1 million in weighted new business premiums[1] for 1Q2018, a 14 per cent growth from the previous year. Linked policies had the highest growth of S$208 million, with an 82 per cent increase from 1Q2017.

S$642.8 million in weighted annual premiums were registered during the first three months of the year, reflecting an encouraging 21 per cent increase from the corresponding period in 2017. This is attributed to increases seen across all policy types, namely, linked, participating and non-participating policies.

For single premium products, the industry recorded S$282.3 million in weighted single premiums, a 0.4 per cent increase from 1Q2017, for which

a)      Single premium par and non-par products comprised 65 per cent, the balance 35 per cent comprised single premium linked products
b)      CPFIS-included products comprised 24 per cent; cash-funded products formed the remaining 76 per cent
 
Rise in sum assured and uptake of protection-focused policies
 
The industry continues to make significant progress in helping individuals better meet their protection needs, with a significant 23 per cent year-on-year increase in total sum assured for new business, amounting to S$29.9 billion in 1Q2018.
 
While our Protection Gap Study 2017 found a persistent gap in the level of protection amount in Singapore,[2] it is heartening to know that more people are taking action to be better insured. Collectively, the life insurance industry will not only look at ongoing public education efforts but will also develop targeted public engagement programmes based on insights from a follow-on qualitative study that is currently in progress.
 
LIA Register of Unclaimed Life Insurance Proceeds enhanced

The Association's "Register of Unclaimed Life Insurance Proceeds"[3] was enhanced in April 2018. The Register now includes a wider range of individual insurance policies, thereby facilitating more unclaimed insurance benefits to be successfully claimed by more policyholders and claimants.
 
Human capital growth

As employment continues to grow in the Singapore finance and insurance sectors[4], the life sector's headcount grew by 10 per cent in 1Q2018. 7,594 individuals were employed by member companies, up from 6,883 staff in 1Q2017.
 
14,817 representatives held exclusive contracts with companies that operate a tied agency force.
 
Present focus
 
-  Helping more individuals bridge their protection gaps. Findings from the above mentioned qualitative study are targeted for release in the second half of the year.
 
- Digitalisation efforts by individual member companies to improve the customer experience and journey are gaining strong momentum. Member companies are stepping up their efforts to recruit, as well as re-skill/up-skill staff, to meet the demand for specialists, particularly for new digital technology jobs.

Patrick Teow
President

_______________________

[1] Weighted new business premiums measures premiums collected on new policies by taking into account (1) 10 per cent of the value of single premium products, (2) all of a year's premiums for annual premium products, and (3) adjusted value for products with premium payment durations of less than 10 years.
 
The figure is calculated as follows: 10% Single Premium Insurance + 100% Annual Premium Insurance + Adjusted premium for Insurance with premium payment durations of less than 10 years.

[2] Singapore lacks 80% of critical illness protection needs: Life Insurance Association (26 April 2018). TODAY. Available at: https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/singaporeans-lack-80-critical-illness-protection-needs-life-insurance-association

[3] Register of unclaimed insurance proceeds now covers wider range of payouts: LIA (5 April 2018). The Business Times. Available at: http://www.businesstimes.com.sg/banking-finance/register-of-unclaimed-insurance-proceeds-now-covers-wider-range-of-payouts-lia
 
[4] Unemployment rates in Singapore declined in Q1 2018. (30 April 2018). Human Resources Online. Available at: http://www.humanresourcesonline.net/unemployment-rates-in-singapore-declined-in-q1-2018/ 

Industry Events

31 March 2018
Great Eastern Launches Great Eastern Cares in Celebration of its 110th Anniversary

In celebration of its 110th anniversary this year, Great Eastern launched Great Eastern Cares today in the presence of President Halimah Yacob, Minister Grace Fu and a 19,000-strong crowd at the National Stadium.

GE cheque for ST School Pocket Money Fund
Great Eastern raised $169,085 for needy children supported by the Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund. Mr Khor Hock Seng, Group CEO, Great Eastern (right), presented the cheque to Mr Gerard Ee, Member of the Fund's Board of Trustees, in the presence of President Halimah Yacob and Minister Grace Fu.

Great Eastern Cares will lend greater focus to the company's Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) efforts and programmes to promote active volunteerism and caring for the community among its 3,800 staff and 23,000-strong agency force across the Group.

Today's Great Eastern Community Shield event was the first of a series of major CSR initiatives lined up for this year. The company leveraged the Shield to raise $169,085 from its corporate partners, staff and agency force for the Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund (STSPMF) which supports 14,000 needy school children.

To symbolically launch Great Eastern Cares, some 450 from the Great Eastern family, business partners, STSPMF beneficiaries and members from community football clubs came together to form a "community 110" formation at the National Stadium amidst rousing cheers from the crowd.

GE Community 110
Great Eastern staff, agency force, corporate partners and members of  the community converged at the National Stadium to form a Community 110 in celebration of Great Eastern's 110th anniversary and the launch of Great Eastern Cares.

This afternoon, Great Eastern volunteers befriended and hosted over 300 beneficiaries and family members from the Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund (STSPMF) to an exciting afternoon at the GREAT 110 Football Fiesta. The highlight was the GREAT 110 Kids Football Tournament where 110 children, including beneficiaries from STSPMF, had a great time in the friendly competition. They were treated to a thrilling match later that evening between Albirex Niigata FC and Tampines Rovers FC.

GREAT 110 Football Fiesta - Photo1
GREAT 110 Football Fiesta - Photo2
GREAT 110 Football Fiesta - Photo3
Great Eastern staff befriending beneficiaries and families supported by the Fund.

Commented Khor Hock Seng, Group Chief Executive Officer, Great Eastern Holdings, "Great Eastern has a longstanding tradition of giving back to the community. We are committed to empowering the community to live healthier and better. We believe in making a positive difference in the communities we work in and adding value to the lives around us.

As we celebrate our 110th anniversary this year, it is timely for us to reinforce our commitment to continue our tradition of making a meaningful difference in the community.

We are off to a great start with Great Eastern Cares. A key focus is to encourage greater active volunteerism among our staff and agency force, and today is an excellent example of this.

In the next few months, we will be creating more opportunities and rolling out more CSR initiatives across the Group for our staff and agency force to volunteer their time and talent to support worthy causes.

As a responsible corporate citizen and a market leader, we would like to encourage and inspire individuals as well as companies to join us in our efforts to go the extra mile for the good and betterment of society."

To further commemorate Great Eastern's 110th anniversary, Great Eastern General Insurance offered fans at the Stadium an exclusive 50% off its travel plan TravelE@sy. In addition, the first 110 customers to purchase the plan will receive a one-year complimentary HomeGR8 insurance plan.

20 April 2018
FPAS Financial Planner Awards 2018

FPAS Awards 2018 Banner

The inaugural Financial Planner Competition by the Financial Planning Association of Singapore (FPAS) and the Awards Night held on 20th April 2018 at the Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza hotel was a resounding success!

It brought together practitioners from all sectors in the finance industry and also saw quality financial plans being submitted and presented. We were also honoured to have Mr Heng Chee How, Senior Minister of State in the Ministry of Defence and NTUC Deputy Secretary-General, as the guest-of-honour during the Awards Night.

Guest of Honour

There was strong support from the banks, insurance companies and financial advisory firms through their participation and nomination of their outstanding employees.

FPAS Financial Planner Awards seek to recognise outstanding financial planners in the Banking, Insurance and Financial Advisory sectors in Singapore.

The first industry-wide competition by FPAS in partnership with Mercer Singapore and supported by a panel of prestigious judges from the Finance industry, as below.

Panel of Judges

Winners of the awards had demonstrated excellence financial planning skills at the highest level, excel in their professional knowledge and uphold best practices in financial planning in Singapore. They were being featured in The Straits Times on 22 April 2018 and the winners are as follows: 

- Ms. Fion Ong Hui Ting, DBS Bank - Winner for the Banking Sector - Open Category
- Ms. Kaylyn Heng Wen Ling, DBS Bank - Winner for Banking Sector - Rising Star Category
- Mr. James Yang, Great Eastern Life - Winner for Insurance Sector - Open  Category
- Ms. Goh Ming Shan, Tokio Marine Life - Winner for Insurance Sector - Rising Star Category
- Mr. Roy Walker, Nexus Financial - Winner for Financial Advisory Sector - Open Category
- Mr. Colin Lai, Elpis Financial - Winner for Financial Advisory Sector - Rising Star Category

Winners

We would also like to congratulate the winners for the Corporate Awards, the Company with the most qualified nominees, and they are HSBC Singapore for the Banking Sector, Great Eastern Life for the Insurance Sector and IPP Financial Advisers for the Financial Advisory sector. The Corporate Awards signify the passion and the quality of the financial plans by their financial planners.

The objectives resonate with FPAS vision and mission, to ensure that all Singaporeans have access to responsible and appropriate financial planning advice, by raising the professional standards of the industry through education and a shared code of ethics.

Uniqueness of the Awards
It is the first competition by FPAS that assess the financial planning acumen of practitioners from the Banking, the Insurance and the Financial Advisory sectors.

Guests - Photo1
Guests - Photo2
Guests - Photo3
Group Photo1
Group Photo2

Congratulations to all the winners and partners and we look forward to working together in achieving the common goal of raising the professional standards of the financial planning industry and to the next Financial Planner Awards in 2019! The submission of the financial plans for the competition will kick-start in September 2018. To find out more, visit www.FPA.sg

26 April 2018
Old Mutual International celebrating 10 successful years

Old Mutual International (OMI) first opened a branch in Singapore in 2008 and was originally focused on UK expatriates living in Singapore. But fast forward 10 years, OMI's proposition has expanded to serve multiple nationalities, including local Singaporeans, and been developed to encompass new wealth management solutions to suit the evolving needs of clients in the region.

Speaker Guests - Photo1
Guests - Photo2 Guests - Photo3
Group Photo1
Group Photo 2

OMI celebrated the anniversary with business partners across distribution channels at the Glasshouse, Andaz Singapore on 26 April.

To watch a video of the event, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XDVPI92eE_c

9 May 2018
Etiqa Insurance ranked among the top 10 digitally innovative insurance brands in Singapore

The progressive online insurer emerged second in innovation and fifth overall in the inaugural Applied Innovation Institute Singapore Insurance Innovation and Digital Benchmark. The report ranks the innovation and digitalisation efforts of 25 insurers in Singapore, over 80 data points across social, online, and innovation categories were measured to come up with the rankings.

Backed by our strong performance in innovation and continuous commitment to customer-centricity, Etiqa Insurance is proud to be recognised as a leading digital insurer with comprehensive innovation strategies in the face of disruption.

Find out more about Etiqa's achievement at marketing-interactive.com/top-10-insurance-brands-in-singapore-ranked-by-digital-innovation/.

12 June 2018
Triple victory for Etiqa Insurance at World Finance Markets Awards, Efma-Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards and the Singapore 1000 Awards 2018

Etiqa Insurance scooped four major wins at both national and international awards recently. The digital insurer received the 'Most Innovative Finance Firm - Singapore 2018' award at the 2018 World Finance Markets Awards for its impressive digitalisation and technology-based solutions, such as being the first insurer to integrate with 'MyInfo', a digital data vault launched by Government Technology Agency of Singapore (GovTech) and the Ministry of Finance, Straight Through Processing (STP) of travel claims, auto claims processing of flight delays, real time claims payment via eWallet and DBS Ideal Rapid and policy cancellation via Robotics Process Automation (RPA). The Straight Through Claims Processing and Real Time Payment also won the leading claims management insurer the Bronze award at the recent 2018 Efma-Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards on 12 June 2018.

Furthermore, Etiqa also bags another prestigious award - 'Singapore 1000 Company - Emerging 2018', making history with its debut win in the Singapore 1000, ranking among Singapore's top 1000 corporations and SMEs. The award recognises companies that achieved excellence based on solid financial performance for the financial period ending between 01 June 2016 and 31 May 2017. This is the first time which Etiqa has been ranked amongst other emerging corporations in the Singapore 1000 rankings, indicating its strong performance in year-on-year growth.

Etiqa Award
The Etiqa team at Singapore 1000 Awards in March 2018

Industry News

Important Guidelines/Circulars issued

2 Apr 2018 MC 33/18 - ASC ISSUES NEW ACCOUNTING STANDARDS ON INSURANCE CONTRACTS (29 MAR 18)
2 Apr 2018 MC 42/18 - INSURANCE PAYOUTS FOR BANKRUPTCY CASES
4 Apr 2018 MC 43/18 - CPFB: ENHANCEMENT TO CPFIS INVESTMENT SCHEME (5 MAR 18)
27 Apr 2018 MC 49/18 - LIA PROTECTION GAP STUDY (PGS) 2017 - FINAL MATERIALS
25 Jun 2018 MU 73/18 - LIA GUIDING PRINCIPLES FOR LIFE INSURERS ON PRODUCT COMPARISON

17 April 2018
Great Eastern Launches GETGREAT and UPGREAT
Industry-first platforms to empower and reward healthier and better living
Digital push to make insurance an enjoyable, everyday experience

GETGREAT and UPGREAT - two digital platforms
GETGREAT and UPGREAT, two exciting digital platforms by Great Eastern to empower and reward the community to live healthier and better

Great Eastern launched GETGREAT and UPGREAT, two exciting digital platforms with industry-first features to empower and reward customers and the community to live healthier and better.

Both platforms will be available to all members of the public, with Great Eastern customers enjoying additional tiered-up benefits and rewards.

GETGREAT
Changing age-old habits is not easy to achieve on one's own without support. Leveraging on insights from the nudge theory, subtle social nudges are needed for changes to be achievable and sustainable.

GETGREAT is the first-of-its-kind wellness platform with a wellness coach, GERI, powered by artificial intelligence, which offers personalised coaching 24/7 to nudge users towards their personal wellness goals.

Additional nudges include special wellness challenges which users can participate in to earn more points for better benefits and rewards as well as wellness programmes which they can choose the level of difficulty - Lite, Intermediate and Turbo.

They can also invite family and friends, as well as exercise with a buddy and form social groups to motivate one another on their wellness journey.

GETGREAT is the latest addition to Great Eastern's Live Great Programme to deliver on our brand promise to our customers to help them live healthier, better and longer.

UPGREAT
In today's fast paced world, it is challenging to keep track of multiple loyalty benefits and rewards.

UPGREAT provides a single mobile platform where customers can seamlessly enjoy all their loyalty benefits and rewards digitally anywhere, any time.

In yet another first by an insurer in the region, UPGREAT allows the user to transfer rewards and benefits seamlessly to family and friends.

Commented Ryan Cheong, Managing Director, Strategy and Transformation, Great Eastern, "Our aim is to make insurance an enjoyable, everyday experience. Great Eastern is the industry pioneer in championing health and wellness through our innovative Live Great Programme and the programme has achieved tremendous success.

With the launch of GETGREAT and UPGREAT, we are adding new dimensions in building relationships with our customers beyond just insurance to exciting everyday interactions and experiences. Designed with the user first in mind, the platforms can be downloaded easily from Apple App Stores and Google Play for free and available to everyone.

GETGREAT is designed to help users to achieve their health and wellness outcomes. We recognise that maintaining good health is important to many Singaporeans. As a market leader and Singaporeans' preferred insurer, our purpose is to help the community at large with their financial, protection and wellness needs.

This is just the start. We are delighted to have key partners like Samsung, Qoo10, and Trip.com, who share our aspirations. In the coming months, we will be enhancing and enriching the features for both GETGREAT and UPGREAT."

To watch the GETGREAT and UPGREAT videos, click on the links below:
https://youtu.be/ZbotNsuWnLs
https://youtu.be/qxRGgM2XGJw

24 April 2018
Working adults are financially unprepared for Critical Illnesses according to AXA research

AXA Infographic - Better Beyond Survey

AXA Insurance conducted a survey which revealed a lack of understanding and preparedness for the financial implications of critical illnesses among working adults in Singapore.
 
The AXA Better Beyond Survey found that while half of respondents understand that a critical illness can have a serious financial impact on their lives, six in 10 are unsure of the financial costs involved. The study also showed a gap in preparedness, with only 52% owning critical illness insurance despite close to 9 in 10 saying they have a likely chance of being diagnosed with a critical illness before turning 65.
 
In addition, by looking into why Singaporeans are uninsured, the survey identified affordability and accessibility as key to increasing critical illness insurance take-up and ensuring adequate protection.
 
"The results of the AXA Better Beyond Survey pointed to the same significant critical illness protection gap highlighted in the recent LIA Protection Gap study. With these in mind, we have launched two new affordable and hassle-free gender specific critical illness insurance plans, AXA CritiCare for Her and AXA CritiCare for Him, designed to meet the unique needs and preferences of  women and men in Singapore. Given the importance of having adequate critical illness coverage, the plans pay up to 3.5 times of the chosen sum assured. We are committed to empowering consumers to be better prepared financially, and to ultimately live better lives beyond any setbacks," said Sean Goh, Managing Director, Life, AXA insurance.
 
The full report of the AXA Better Beyond Survey can be found at https://www.axa.com.sg/latest-news/insights

10 May 2018
AIA Singapore's exclusive partnership with Medix, provides Its customers with Personal Medical Case Management (PMCM) Services

AIA partner Medix on providing PMCM Services

In May 2018, AIA Singapore is the first insurer in Singapore to enter into an exclusive partnership with Medix, to provide customers with Personal Medical Case Management (PMCM) services.

This exclusive partnership brings AIA Singapore's comprehensive healthcare proposition to a whole new level - focusing on ensuring our customers receive the best possible treatments and personalised ongoing support throughout their medical journey when they face serious medical conditions.

Customers are at the heart of everything we do at AIA Singapore, and we want to be there for them when they need us most through their medical journey.

For a start, the PMCM service will be available for AIA Max Essential A and A Saver customers with serious medical conditions. They will be able to tap into this service to arrive at the right diagnosis quickly, giving them access to the optimal treatment plan, and personalised support every step of the way until recovery. This will alleviate the stress, anxiety and pressure on them and their families, as they receive the best quality care.

The personal support from Medix includes medical assessment, re-evaluation, referral for testing, ongoing multi-disciplinary consultations and long term medical guidance, by Medix's 300 in-house doctors and a global network of over 3,000 leading independent specialists. The service is provided for a period of at least 3 months and is available upon need throughout the customer's medical journey. <More information available here: PMCM service>

This exclusive partnership with Medix complements AIA Singapore's existing AIA Quality Healthcare Partners (AQHP), which consists of a network of more than 270 qualified medical specialists, providing customers with peace of mind and ensuring a comprehensive healthcare proposition for them.

AIA Singapore remains unwavering in our commitment to actively invest in the health and financial well-being of Singaporeans. We will continue to empower our customers to live healthier, longer and better lives!

14 May 2018
Great Eastern to Pay Out S$601 Million in Participating Fund Bonuses

Great Eastern has announced that it will pay out S$601 million of bonuses to Great Eastern participating (par) fund policyholders.

Over 750,000 eligible policyholders will receive an additional one-off special bonus which will increase their regular bonus for 2017 by at least 25%.

Commented Khor Hock Seng, Group Chief Executive Officer, Great Eastern Holdings, "We are committed to optimising returns for our policyholders from our par funds. Over the past years, we have achieved strong financial performance in our par funds and we are pleased to announce this one-off special bonus for eligible policyholders.

We will continue to proactively manage the long-term performance of our par funds."

15 May 2018
Tokio Marine's TOMI introduces an industry's first Chatbot calculator to calculate your personal protection gaps

Tokio Marine Life Insurance Singapore Ltd. (TMLS) introduced a protection gap calculator function to TOMI in May 2018. For the first time, users can now self-generate a personalised protection gap report by answering three simple questions around their monthly income and current protection coverage. Users can also request for a more detailed analysis.

This update features an advanced and industry's first bot-to-bot communication which greatly enhances the adviser-prospect process. Once TOMI receives a request for more information, a human adviser would immediately be notified to provide tailored advice to the user within two hours.

This is free to the public so all they have to do is sign up with TOMI.

TOMI Gap Calculator
L - R:
Sample user journey for users accessing TOMI's Protection Gap Calculator
Sample half report generated for users using TOMI's Gap Calculator function

A demo on how this works is also available.

21 May 2018
Etiqa Insurance launches new range of online life protection solutions from as low as S$0.04 per day

Etiqa Online Life Protection Plans

Insurance partner of Maybank Group, Etiqa Insurance, has launched a new range of direct purchase life insurance online. With a choice of 3 plans, namely ePROTECT term life, DIRECT - Etiqa term life, and DIRECT - Etiqa whole life, customers can enjoy flexible coverage and a choice of commitment period, cash value and extra protection based on their needs.

Designed with flexibility in mind, ePROTECT term life and DIRECT - Etiqa term life are term life plans that offer life protection for the selected term. With a sum insured of up to $400,000 and S$2 million respectively, both plans are available for a policy term of 5 years (renewable), 20 years or up to age 65.

With DIRECT - Etiqa whole life, one can enjoy lifetime protection at a levelled premium and accumulate reversionary bonus obtainable as surrender value or death benefit.

As the first life insurer to launch online DPI in Singapore and a pioneer of online insurance savings plans, Etiqa recognises the need to digitalise insurance products at a time when digital knowledge among consumers are rising. With simple and affordable life protection plans with lower premiums from as little as S$0.04 per day, Etiqa Insurance aims to bridge the personal protection gap in Singapore.

Q&A with Abhishek Bhatia

Abhishek Bhatia - Photo Abhishek Bhatia
Chief Executive Officer
FWD Singapore Pte. Ltd.

Abhishek holds an Honours degree in Economics from Delhi University, and is an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Management. He was a keen student of physics and chemistry prior to undergrad.

He started with Glaxo SmithKline, an FMCG company and prior to joining FWD, Abhishek spent 15 years with Prudential Plc in senior roles across the globe. In his last job, he was Chief Executive Officer, Prudential Poland, where he oversaw the establishment of the company and was instrumental in achieving Prudential's leadership position in sales technology and product innovation. Prior to that Abhishek was the Regional Director of Insurance based out of Hong Kong. He also held senior roles with Prudential in Malaysia and India.

1. What are some of your career highlights?

I have been fortunate that my career has taken me to multiple countries around the world. Having worked in different parts of Asia, Middle East and Europe has definitely been a highlight. The cultural nuances, social norms and professional dos and don'ts have similarities as well as differences across countries. Understanding and working with them to grow an organisation has definitely been a big highlight.

Have also been lucky to work in General Insurance, life insurance as well as asset management through my career. I get a high from simplifying the so called 'complexities' and jargon of every industry most people hide behind and refocusing people's minds to what never gets enough attention - the small detail that can make a big difference. 

2. Do you have a personal philosophy for life/career that you strongly believe in?

I am a big fan of simplifying stuff. Insurance as an industry has thrived on complexity and many a career have been made on that premise. It doesn't have to be.

Secondly, I am a great believer in execution. Brilliance is useless if not put into action. All companies have the same info/data and yet the companies and people that eventually win are the ones who do stuff. One of my favourite quotes is "you only find oil when you drill. You might think you are finding it when you are poring through maps, but you only find it when you drill." 
 
3. What do you usually do in your leisure time? 

Love to travel. The sights, sounds and smells of different places is a great addiction. The ability to do it with my family who share my passion is a great gift.
 
4. Who are your inspirations in life?

Frankly I take inspiration from anyone/thing that shows a new path or breaks the mould. I believe that the path of least resistance for human beings is to do what is comfortable and conforms. So whenever you see someone who is trying to forge a new way, it needs to be acknowledged and learnt from
 
5. Tell us about a little-known fact about yourself.

While I can't play any musical instrument to save my life now, as a child I used to play the Hawaiian guitar pretty well.
 
6. Describe your proudest moment.

I always get energised by creating something new. Launching Prudential in Poland was quite fulfilling and emotionally satisfying. Ditto with FWD in Singapore. The fact that we have been able to grow so rapidly with a business model that many in the financial industry still view with skepticism has been especially gratifying. I have a fantastic team surrounding me in FWD and watching the team grow every day to fulfil their own potential is very special. 
 
7. Complete the sentence: "I love my job because ..."

It allows me the opportunity and freedom to reinvent an entire industry. The learning I get on a daily basis as a result and from the great people on team FWD is a wonderful bonus.

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