Issue No. 13 January - March 2013
Message from the PresidentIndustry Events
Industry NewsQ&A with Flying Dutchman (Mark van Cuylenburg)

Message from the President

LIA President - Ms Annette King2013/14 - New leadership team at the helm of LIA

On behalf of the newly-elected office bearers, allow me to thank all members of LIA for entrusting Dr Khoo Kah Siang, Christopher Gill and myself to lead this esteemed organisation. It is our privilege and you have our assurance that we will do our utmost to serve the industry through the association.

2012 - Consistent overall growth for the industry

The life insurance industry in Singapore achieved a healthy performance in 2012 with consecutive quarter-on-quarter increases despite the gloomy economic climate. In all, the industry achieved a total of over $2 billion in total new business, which represented an 8 per cent growth over the corresponding period in 2011. The overall performance was driven by the sustained growth of regular premium products, which grew by 18 per cent to about $1.59 billion compared to 2011.

2013 - Increased consumer focus

In 2013, the role of the consumer will have increased focus for the LIA. Our customers are benchmarking us with other industries and expecting more. The consumer survey we conducted last year gives us important foundation blocks on which we can continue to build. Fair Dealing, the FAIR changes and the privacy legislation also require higher standards of financial advisers and our member companies.

The LIA also wishes to engage Singaporeans more with our industry, not just financially but also emotionally. As we bridge more of the underinsurance gap, and help Singaporeans towards understanding and bridging their retirement gap, we aim to engage our customers and potential customers on a more personal level.

This year we have identified someone special to champion life insurance; someone whom the average Singaporean, no matter their age or gender, can relate to in the nicest possible way; someone who can relate to the need for a life insurance plan, and who personally experienced an unforeseen situation; someone who can speak from his heart to the wider public on the necessity of life insurance.

This someone is Mark van Cuylenburg or The Flying Dutchman - a well-known Singaporean personality and a well-recognised voice on the radio.

Over the course of the year, FD will 'star' in our public education campaign, comprising a YouTube video, a series of blog posts penned by FD on consumer-related topics, as well as an interactive Q&A on the LIA website. FD will also attend consumer events in person.

That is not all. We have also created a tongue-in-cheek teaser video that tells people why they should not buy life insurance.

Both videos can be found on YouTube:

Flying Dutchman shares near-death experience!

Will something go wrong in my life? No lah...

We want this video to be seen by as many people as possible, and want your help in promoting the video!

Annette King

Industry Events

LIA 11th Annual Luncheon
6 March 2013, Orchard Hotel

Reception at LIA 11th Annual Luncheon
LIA President The Flying Dutchman
VIPs - Photo1 VIPs - Photo2
VIPs - Photo3 VIPs - Photo4
YouTube Videos

Our Guest of Honour, Lee Chuan Teck, an Assistant Managing Director at MAS shared his thoughts on bringing the financial advisory industry beyond the changes to be implemented under FAIR!

Arrival of Guest of Honour Guest of Honour & LIA Deputy Presidents
Speech by Guest of Honour Guest of Honour & LIA President

Highlights of his speech

14 The FAIR Panel report is a bold attempt to change the face of the financial advisory industry and to lift it onto a higher plane. We have considered but not recommended ideas like mandatory fee-based advising because we assessed that Singaporeans are not quite ready for these. At the same time, we have borrowed ideas from other industries like the web-aggregator and also suggested novel ideas like the direct channel that has not been tried elsewhere. If we succeed, the financial preparedness of Singaporeans should improve. We will measure this financial preparedness along 3 dimensions: Having enough financial resources for exigencies, having sufficient retirement savings and having adequate insurance protection. The Financial Education Steering Committee has commissioned a survey to measure the current state of financial preparedness and to track this over time.

15 As I alluded to earlier, FAIR alone cannot achieve this goal. FAIR principally addresses the distribution part of the value-chain. The distributor lies between two other actors: the product manufacturer and the consumer. These 2 other parts need to be addressed too. Let me touch on consumer education first. Ten years ago, we launched a nation-wide financial literacy programme called MoneySENSE. The idea was to deliver basic financial messages to the general population: household budgeting, buying a house within your means, basic investing, retirement planning, insurance and so on. To extend our reach, we used various channels: mass media (we have a TV programme called Mind your Money on CNA, TV5 and most recently on TV8), newspapers, website and facebook, and also relied heavily on our partners like the CPF, NLB, CDCs and of course the financial industry. LIA is a key partner for us.

16 As we move into the next 10 years, the challenge for us is to help people translate this knowledge into practice. A study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland found that financial education has the largest impact on behaviour only if it is delivered just before they are about to make a financial decision. This means that we have to develop a strategy of sending tailored messages to people at key points in their lives: when they graduate from school, when they start working, when they get married, when they buy a house, when they have children and so on. Because financial representatives are often present at the point of major financial decisions, associations like the LIA have a critical role to play.

For the full text of the speech, go to

Standard Life sponsors St Patrick's Day Street Festival (Singapore)
15-17 March 2013

Down Syndrome Assoc Drummers
Irish Chamber Orchestra Quartet
Irish Inspirational Dancers

This year's St Patrick's Day Street Festival brought together the Irish community, Singaporeans, expatriates and tourists for a celebration of all things Irish. Over the March 15-17 weekend, bands specially flown in from Ireland as well as homegrown bands, Irish dancers, and people all came together by the Singapore River to enjoy music, a street fair, and lots of food and drink from the Emerald Isle. As the only Irish Financial Services Company in Singapore, Standard Life was excited to sponsor Singapore's biggest Irish celebration supporting awareness for Irish culture in Singapore.

The Singapore branch of Standard Life is registered in Ireland and headquartered in Edinburgh, Scotland. Following the Singapore office launch in October, Standard Life launched its core product suite in January, which includes savings and investments plans which not only help locals in planning for their financial goals, it also supports expatriates looking for international savings solutions to meet their needs.

65 Years of Making Your Security Our Priority
Tokio Marine Life Insurance Singapore celebrates 65th Anniversary this year

This celebration would not have been possible without the dedication of our past and present staff, the support of our agency consultants and business partners as well as the trust that our valued clients have placed in us.

To kick start the anniversary celebrations, we offered free rides all day on 16 & 17 March on our very own bus 65!

TMLS - Photo1 TMLS - Photo2

"I enjoyed a free ride on bus No. 65 from Orchard to VivoCity on Saturday! It was nice to see the surprised, quizzical faces of commuters. Hardly anything is free in Singapore," said Pauline Lim, Executive Director of the Life Insurance Association Singapore.

The company started out as The Asia Life Assurance Society Limited in 1948. It was included into the Tokio Marine Group in 2007 and finally became Tokio Marine Life Insurance Singapore Ltd (TMLS) in 2010.

Through all the changes, one thing remains - our commitment to provide valuable peace of mind to all our clients.

"At TMLS, we know that when our clients buy an insurance policy from us, they are actually placing with us the future of a child's education fund, a spouse's retirement fund, their family's financial security and even a financial legacy for many generations to come," said Mr Lance Tay, CEO of TMLS.

"The trust our clients have in us is not misplaced. I am proud that we have honoured our bonus projections on our participating policies all these years, even during the darkest times of financial crisis. Our clients know that we are in the long haul with them." added Mr Tay.

To bring the company to the next lap, Mr Tay wants to focus on strengthening the distribution channels, develop a suite of product solutions that is meaningful and relevant to meet with the socio-economic changes in Singapore, enhance the TMLS brand awareness, promote greater staff engagement to make TMLS a great place to work in and increase overall process efficiency within the organisation.

Manulife Singapore raises funds for Club Rainbow
17 March 2013, Singapore Zoo

Manulife's Fish Mascot
Manulife's Fish Mascot at Club Rainbow's Annual Party at the Singapore Zoo
Thank God it's Fishday
Annette King, President and CEO, Manulife Singapore at 'Thank God it's Fishday' event to engage staff

Late last year as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility program, Manulife Singapore staff rallied together to raise funds for Club Rainbow. This charity provides essential services for families who have children suffering from chronic and potentially life-threatening illnesses.

In March this year, Manulife was invited to Club Rainbow's Annual Party at the Singapore Zoological Gardens. Manulife's Fish mascot was there bright and early to entertain the children with its adorable and lively presence. It was indeed a fun-filled day!

The Fish mascot is part of the FiSH program that Manulife launched in 2012. This program aims to align everything that Manulife does around the client experience - products, processes and people. Employees are getting engaged and being empowered though the company-wide adoption of the FiSH philosophy program that revolves around Being There for others, Making Someone's Day, Choosing Your Attitude and having fun by Playing while you do it.

Industry News

New leadership team at LIA Singapore for 2013/14

LIA President - Ms Annette King LIA Deputy President - Dr Khoo Kah Siang LIA Deputy President - Christopher Gill
President - Ms Annette King Deputy President - Dr Khoo Kah Siang Deputy President - Christopher Gill

Members of the Life Insurance Association Singapore on 6 March elected Ms Annette King, Chief Executive Officer of Manulife (Singapore) as President of the Association for the 2013/14 term of office. 

Also elected were Deputy Presidents, Dr Khoo Kah Siang, Chief Executive Officer of Great Eastern Life Assurance (Singapore), and Christopher Gill, General Manager (South-East Asia) of Friends Provident International (Singapore Branch).

Annette King has over 23 years of experience in financial services and consulting and has held various key roles including marketing, finance, actuarial, portfolio administration services in Australia and Singapore. Prior to her Chief Executive Officer role at Manulife (Singapore), Ms King was Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer as well as Chief Financial Officer in a major European insurance company.

Dr Khoo Kah Siang assumed his current role last year. Dr Khoo joined Great Eastern Life Assurance in 2006 and was promoted to General Manager (Singapore) in April 2011. Prior to that, he was Deputy Director in the Monetary Authority of Singapore for four years.

Christopher Gill took up his current role in 2006 when he was tasked to set up the operations of Friends Provident International Limited in Singapore.  Before that, Mr Gill was based in Hong Kong as the Regional Sales Manager for Friends Provident where he was responsible for developing new business relationships with intermediaries, brokers, private banks and other distributors particularly in Hong Kong and Japan.

Binder Billing for Group Insurance Policies with effect from 1 May 2013

LIA-SIBA Dialogue (4Feb13)
SIBA member-practitioners and LIA Group Insurance Subcommittee members at a dialogue session for feedback on LIA's Binder Billing Initiative

LIA members who are issuing Group Insurance contracts will be implementing a new billing process from 1 May 2013.

The benefits of this new billing process, referred to as Binder Billing (BB) is three-fold:

  • It brings about certainty of coverage for the insured employees;
  • It improves the overall operational efficiencies in the premium collection; and
  • Most importantly, insurers are able to process and pay out eligible claims for the insured employees in a timely manner.

Under the BB framework, there are timelines for:

  • the client in terms of census requirements and payment terms;
  • the intermediary in terms of appropriate follow up with the client; and
  • the insurer in terms of generating bills, and adjustment.

With the commitment of insurers and cooperation from corporate clients and their intermediaries, it is hopeful that the initiative will yield positive outcomes for risk management and customer experience.

LIA Members' Circular No. 28 of 2013 issued. Please go to

Great Eastern Life's Focus on Customer-Centricity Bears Fruit

Tuesday, 19 March 2013 - Great Eastern Life's customer-centric initiatives have been recognised by its customers. In the Singapore Management University's Institute of Service (ISES) Customer Satisfaction Survey 2012, Great Eastern Life's customer satisfaction score improved significantly for the insurance sector.

ISES' survey measures customer satisfaction via an index which has a maximum score of 100. Great Eastern Life's 2012 customer satisfaction score for the Life Insurance sub-sector registered a marked improvement to 72.8 compared with 66.7 in 2011, an increase of 9.1%. This puts Great Eastern Life in the pole position out of the insurance companies surveyed.

For the Health & Medical Insurance sub-sector, Great Eastern Life also saw its customer satisfaction score improve from 66.8 in 2011 to 70.3 in 2012, a 5% increase.

Over the last 18 months, Great Eastern Life had rolled out several major customer initiatives. These include:

1. Refreshed Brand Purpose
In February 2012, Great Eastern Life refreshed its brand purpose to be a LIFE company and not just a life insurance company. To inspire customers to take ownership of their health, Great Eastern Life launched its Live Great Programme in May 2012 to actively help customers live better in their daily lives as well as to reward them for a healthier lifestyle. The company's 3,000-strong distribution representatives and 1,000-strong employees have embraced these initiatives and internalised the stronger, more compelling purpose to help customers achieve their wellness aspirations.

2. imaGEnation Studio
In December 2011, Great Eastern Life set up its imaGEnation Studio, the first for an insurance company in the region. Central to the company's customer-centric culture is its fundamental belief of going to the ground to spend time with customers to glean insights on how customers view insurance and areas of improvement to make insurance more meaningful, simpler to understand and seamless. Towards this end, the imaGEnation studio conducts regular interview sessions and focus groups with key market segments to obtain better customer insights and generate new ideas on how the role of insurance can be further enhanced as part of a complete household financial plan.

3. Innovative Products
In response to evolving customer trends, Great Eastern Life rolled out innovative products through its agency force, bank partner and its financial advisory firm to meet customer needs. As an example, in February 2012, the company launched Supreme Protect. It is the first product of its kind in Singapore which allows customers to increase their insurance coverage with no medical underwriting, including for critical illness, at key stages of their life, such as getting married or having a child, in recognition of our customers' changing needs. It is also the first plan in Singapore to offer Total and Permanent Disability coverage beyond age 65, for whole of life.

4. Enhancements to Customer Service
Service ambassadors at the Customer Service Centre were equipped with tablet computers to assist customers with simple transactions and enquiries during peak periods. "Dial-A-Loan", an express policy loan service, was introduced. Policyholders can call in to apply for loans and collect their cheque within an hour. As a result of improvements such as these, 91% of customers are now served within 10 minutes in 2012, an improvement from 85.7% the previous year.

A dedicated Customer Advocate Team was also set up to focus on customer feedback to ensure timely replies, including on social media forums such as Facebook which demands fast turnaround times. Processes also continued to be streamlined to achieve faster turnaround times for underwriting and claims.

Regular trainings were also conducted for our distribution representatives at our dedicated Centre for Excellence so that they can provide sound advice and appropriate financial solutions to meet their customers' needs.

5. Enhancing Social Media Capabilities
As mentioned earlier, to actively engage customers, significant enhancements were made to the company's social media capabilities, including harnessing Facebook and Twitter. A Live Great portal was also set up where the public can access information and tips on health and wellness as well as do a simple health profiling. They can also download the Great Eastern 21 Days mobile app to help them create a good habit and keep track of their progress on a daily basis.

Commented Chris Wei, Group CEO, Great Eastern Holdings: "The survey results are a strong affirmation and validation of the customer-centric initiatives we have been working on over the past 18 months. We are heartened that our efforts have been recognised by our customers. As a LIFE company, we put our customers at the heart of everything we do. We will continue to offer our customers unique value propositions, innovative products, service excellence and a differentiated customer experience. Despite the encouraging scores, we will not be complacent and there is a lot more that we can improve upon and that is what we will be doing. I would like to thank our distribution representatives and our employees who are our best ambassadors and service champions; they will continue to play a key role as we continue on our journey towards delivering a truly unique and excellent customer experience, every time."

Standard Life (Singapore Branch)

Standard Life International Limited, Singapore Branch was admitted as an Ordinary Member of the LIA on 21 November 2012.
Established in 1825, Standard Life is a provider of long-term savings and investment to around 6 million customers worldwide. Headquartered in Edinburgh, Standard Life has around 9,000 employees internationally.

At the end of June 2012 the Group had total assets under administration of more than £206bn across its savings and investments businesses, which operate throughout the UK, Canada and Europe; its corporate pensions and benefits businesses in the UK and Canada; and Standard Life Investments, a global investment manager, which manages assets of over £157.6bn globally.

Standard Life's other businesses in Asia include its retail savings and investment business in Hong Kong, as well as its life and asset management joint venture businesses in China and India.

Standard Life plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange and has approximately 1.5 million individual shareholders in over 50 countries around the world. It is also listed in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index, ranking it among the top 10% of sustainable companies in the world.
Authorised and regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, Standard Life (Singapore Branch) is the Singapore-registered branch of Standard Life International Limited.

Neal Armstrong, Chief Executive Officer and Principal Officer, commented: "For me, being a part of the LIA is a bit like coming home! I had been on the committee previously for about four years, so it's great to be back and to be able to bring Standard Life to the Singapore market. Although Standard Life is new in Singapore, we are over 180 years old and have been in Asia for many years." 

Lifewire caught up with Neal to find out more about his new role as Chief Executive Officer and Principal Officer of Standard Life Singapore.

Neal Armstrong

Q: Tell us more about your current role and what you hope to achieve.

For us, our immediate priority is to raise awareness of our brand in Singapore. We've identified our customer segments so this means two things for our team now - hard work and focus.

The move is part of the Group's strategy to accelerate its access to high growth, high value markets within Asia and Emerging Markets; more specifically our regional strategy is to create a high value retail investment business in Asia.

Q: How would you describe yourself as a leader? What is your leadership/management style?

For people that know me, I would like to think that they would say I am very approachable, a good listener and am always willing to get involved. I like to engage the team at all levels in decision making.  Everyone has an opinion and at Standard Life Singapore while we may be a small team of 13 people, with our 6 different nationalities we do generate a refreshing range of diverse ideas!  My door is literally always open and I spend as much time with each team member as I possibly can. I also have a mantra that I will never ask anyone to do something I would not be prepared to do myself.

Q: What drives/motivates you?

Coming from a sales background originally, I am passionate about building new things. The opportunity to build a successful brand in Singapore reliant on a strong proposition and service is certainly a key driver, but ultimately building relationships is what gets me out of bed in the morning. I love the idea that this time next year, people in our chosen market will know who Standard Life is, and what we are about!

The Healthy Lifestyle Index (HLI)

Have you ever wondered how healthy you really are?

Most of us wish to live a healthy lifestyle and be healthy in their own ways. But sometimes we might not be aware of our unhealthy habits. Apart from exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight and eating a balanced diet; we also need to have a good network of friends and family to be able to cope well with stress and screen regularly to have peace of mind. Knowing your healthy behaviors and habits is the first step that you can take towards a healthier you!

The HLI is a new online assessment tool created by the Health Promotion Board (HPB) to help you assess your overall health habits. It is quick, easy and best of all, absolutely FREE!

A simple health-related questionnaire for anyone who is 18 years or older, the HLI indicates how well you score across 10 healthy lifestyle behaviors which are:

Image from HPB

Take the right steps towards a healthier you

Simply visit via your computer, mobile or Facebook and answer 10 simple questions to find out your HLI score today.

It is never too late to start living healthily. Just answer 10 simple questions to receive a FREE summary report with individual feedback on each of the lifestyle behaviours, as well as recommendations on suitable follow-up programmes. For instance, if you get a low score on nutrition, the report will provide you with recommendations on how to eat a balanced diet, provide links to resources on healthy eating, and even a HealthLine number to call a nurse advisor for more information.
Start by knowing how healthy you really are. Over 4000 people have taken the Healthy Lifestyle Index, so why wait?

Visitors to LIA Singapore

U.S. Government  Accountability Office
29 January 2013

Photo of GAO's Visit

Charles Jeszeck, a Director for Education, Workforce and Income Security Issues, Ms Tamara Cross, an Assistant Director for Education, Workforce and Income Security Issues, and Ms Lacy Vong, a Senior Policy Analyst in GAO's Education, Workforce, and Income Security Team, all from the U.S. Government Accountability Office were briefed on the annuity market in Singapore and product developments in the market as a result of recent CPF reforms.

Together with Pauline Lim, LIA Executive Director, were two officers from NTUC Income, Questor Ng, Chief Actuary and Yong Chia Jack, Senior Manager.

Q&A with Flying Dutchman (Mark van Cuylenburg)

Flying Dutchman

"Family for me is the foundation for everything in my life."

This is what motivated the Flying Dutchman (FD) to start planning for his future.

The popular radio host has been chosen recently to represent the industry in the Life Insurance Association's latest campaign. This is the first time that the LIA is using a non-industry personality to champion life insurance to the general public.

So, why is he an advocate for life insurance?

"I never saw the importance of life insurance initially. When you're younger, you tend to have other priorities in life. It was only when someone asked me if I was prepared for my future one day.  This spurred me to think about my future and my family's," FD told Lifewire.

He added: "I sat down with my insurance advisor and I realised how unprepared I was for my future, as well as for life's unexpected situations. Taking one step at a time, he helped me to develop a plan to provide me and my family a peace of mind."

In his role as the 'face' of the life insurance industry, he hopes to tell the wider public about all the reasons why they should not do without life insurance.

"Life insurance is not a luxury. It is a necessity."

When asked about his thoughts on being the industry's representative, FD said: "With where I am in life and what I have been through, I can and I want to make a difference. I hope people will listen to me with an open mind."

"The story of my heart attack is very real and it could happen to anyone. When that happens, will one be prepared both emotionally and financially?"

Showreel for Flying Dutchman

FD also shared with Lifewire some personal facts about himself.

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

Over the years, my life has pretty much been an open book - you can't hide much on radio! But if there was one thing - I would say that I am a lot more religious than what people think. Yes, I crack jokes about my religion but that is because I believe that I have a very special relationship with my God. I know he understands me better than anyone else. Smile

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

Most days, I enjoy just being at home and spending quality time with my family. But on some days, especially the really bad ones, I would usually require some quiet time alone. This could mean reading a book, watching my favourite TV show or just surfing the internet - what I call, my "me, myself and I" time.

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

  • My marriage - I married the most fantastic woman in the world;
  • The birth of my children - They are the gems in my life;
  • My work on radio - God gave me a gift, and I have been able to use it; and
  • When I was invited to be the 'face' of the life insurance industry.

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

I am who I am, and I am supported by the most incredible family and friends!

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