Issue No. 17 January - March 2014
Message from the PresidentIndustry Events
Industry NewsQ&A with K Kadiresan

Message from the President

LIA President

Industry performance in 2013

I am glad to report that for 2013, the life insurance industry posted strong results. $2.8 billion in weighted new business premiums were received, which is a growth of 28 per cent over the previous year's record.

Sales of annual premium products were robust, totalling $2.1 billion, up by 31 per cent over the same period in 2012. Sales of single premium products increased by 20 per cent to reach $0.7 billion of weighted premiums.

The total premiums in the Singapore Insurance Fund stood at $12.99 billion as at 31 December last year, representing an increase of 13.8 per cent over 2012.

Challenges in 2014 and beyond

Even as the life industry achieved positive business growth in 2013, there are multiple challenges and issues, which lie ahead.

Certainly uncoordinated, but many 'heavy weight' regulations will all take effect this year and next year. Just to name a few: the FAIR initiatives, the U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act or FATCA, Technology Risk Management enhancements, PDPA and DNC registrations. Undoubtedly, the resources of member companies are fully stretched as these are requirements added to insurers' business plans.

From a strategic consideration, expanded health insurance, which brings in complex issues, is the subject of intense national debate and study. As for life insurance protection, Basic Insurance Products will soon be offered online or purchased at the counter, in both cases without advice.

As an industry, we need to be well positioned to deal with evolving consumer expectations and their responses to the new initiatives. There is also the need to work with the regulators in monitoring and fine-tuning implementation in the early years of adoption.

Key focuses for 2014

Therefore, I believe that our focus this year should concentrate on three areas.

One: Implementation of new regulations

It is often said that, "The devil is in the details". We must try our best to ensure that regulations, rules or guidelines are robust, i.e. well thought through, reasonable and practicable. Industry will continue to work with the authorities and other relevant stakeholders to avoid the danger of unintended consequences, the pain of impractical requirements, or the confusion of ambiguous language.

Two: Participation in national agendas

We want to collaborate and contribute positively towards nation-building. Industry will intensify its engagement with the ongoing debates and reviews on making strategic changes, in order to add value to the final outcomes.

Three: Effective communications

We want to do more and better, in terms of reaching out to Singaporeans to help them appreciate the benefits of life insurance and understand the common products as well as be informed of new initiatives. For this, industry will need to identify a comprehensive and effective communications strategy.

Concerted action

The life insurance industry in Singapore has weathered many difficulties in the past.

I am confident that the current challenges will once again be surmounted as we resolve to turn them into opportunities for innovation and sustainable growth.

Khoo Kah Siang

P.S. The above Message is an extract of the speech that was delivered at the 2014 LIA Annual Luncheon. For the speech in full, please go to http://www.lia.org.sg/files/news/2014/03/President_Speech.pdf

Industry Events

Tokio Marine Life Insurance Singapore's TM Nest Egg (GIO CashBack) Campaign
January to April 2014

Tokio Marine Life Insurance Singapore launched a new TM Nest Egg (GIO CashBack) campaign in January 2014 with refreshed branding.

TM Nest Egg (GIO CashBack) is an anticipated endowment plan that aims to induce an element of liquidity and flexibility savings.

The latest product was designed based on the insight that Singapore residents find it a challenge to consistently manage their savings with the increasing cost of living. After spending on necessities such as food, transport, allowances for kids and ageing parents, groceries and housing, many are unable to enjoy today's occasional indulgences while saving for tomorrow.

With TM Nest Egg (GIO CashBack), customers will be able to meet today's challenge of balancing savings and financial needs - saving for the mid to long-term while receiving annual cash payouts to enjoy life's indulgences. The plan offers attractive returns of up to 3.8%1 p.a. and is suitable for individuals looking for a savings plan that provides liquidity with capital guaranteed2 element and hassle-free application.

The key features of the plan are:

  • Guaranteed Yearly Cash Benefits payable from the 2nd policy anniversary;
  • Guaranteed maturity benefit amount of up to 16x of the yearly cash benefits;
  • Capital guaranteed2;
  • Guaranteed Issuance with no medical underwriting3;
  • Choice of premium payment terms: 5, 10, 15 or 20 years;
  • Flexible policy terms: 10, 15, 20 or 25 years
Raffles Place MRT ION Orchard
Raffles Place MRT ION Orchard
Taxi Advertising Taxi Stand Poster
Taxi Advertising Bus Stop and Taxi Stand Poster

Accompanying the launch was a targeted island-wide advertising campaign around the key message "Savings for tomorrow while enjoying today's luxuries". The campaign, which ran from January 2014, covered various platforms including placements on Raffles Place MRT, ION Orchard, taxi advertising, print advertisements, bus stop and taxi stand posters, Search Engine Marketing and digital platforms.

For more information on TM Nest Egg (GIO CashBack) do refer to our website: http://www.tokiomarine-life.sg/individual-solutions/8-key-financial-needs/wealth-accumulation/tm-nest-egg-gio-cashback/

Look out for more exciting campaigns from Tokio Marine Life Insurance Singapore!

1 Based on age 1, female non-smoker, 5-pay, 20-year plan, paid-out option and guaranteed yearly cash benefit of S$15,000.
2 Applicable to annual premium payment mode only.
3 Riders are subject to full underwriting.

Great Eastern Life raises S$122,618 for The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund
February 2014

With the strong support of its employees, distribution force and corporate partners, Great Eastern Life had raised S$122,618 for The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund. The fundraising was in conjunction with the Great Eastern Charity Shield, the curtain-raiser for the 2014 Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League. The Charity Shield match, held at Jalan Besar Stadium on 21 February 2014, featured an exciting clash between last year's S.League winner Tampines Rovers FC and Singapore Cup winner Home United FC. Tampines Rovers FC took home the Great Eastern Charity Shield Cup with a score of 1-0.

Great Eastern Life - Photo1

The cheque for the amount raised was presented by Great Eastern Life Singapore CEO Dr Khoo Kah Siang to ST School Pocket Money Fund Chairman Han Fook Kwang in a simple ceremony at half-time.

Commented Dr Khoo, "As a LIFE Company, we believe life is truly great when we make someone else's life better. At Great Eastern, children occupy a special place in our hearts. We share the Fund's vision to help children who have problems attending school because they do not have pocket money. I am heartened by the strong support from Great Eastern employees, distribution force and our business partners. With their generosity, we were able to raise a meaningful sum to help the children."

Added Mr Han, "We are extremely grateful for this very generous donation and fundraising initiative for The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund. Great Eastern and its partners have been strong supporters of the Fund and its latest contribution will go a long way to helping us meet the needs of our more than 13,000 beneficiaries."

Great Eastern Life - Photo2

That afternoon, prior to the Charity Shield match, over 90 children supported by ST School Pocket Money Fund were treated to a football clinic, one of Great Eastern's Live Great initiatives to encourage healthy living through sports to the young.

The children had a memorable time on the pitch learning football skills and team work from a team of volunteer coaches which included former Singapore Captain Samad Allapitchay and Razali Saat, former midfielders Malek Awab and Syed Faruk, as well as former winger Ho Kwang Hock. Great Eastern's very own former nationals Lee Keng Whatt, Richard Bok and Tommy Ong also imparted their experience and skills to the young participants.

One young participant who enjoyed the clinic was 12-year-old Bahseer Akmal, who had the opportunity to practise his football skills. "I won't forget it, this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I've always enjoyed football, and I had great fun!" said Bahseer.

Manulife Singapore supports Terry Fox Run 2014
16 February 2014, East Coast Park

Terry Fox Run - Photo1
Manulifers at the start of the Terry Fox Run

Manulife Singapore was proud to sponsor the Terry Fox Run, the world's largest fundraiser for cancer research that was held in February this year. Manulife Singapore's CEO, Ms Annette King and 70 enthusiastic Manulifers came together as ONE Manulife to participate in the Terry Fox Run at the East Coast Park. Participants could choose to walk or run 5 or 10 km respectively. Funds raised went to the Singapore Cancer Society Research Program.

Prior to the event, trial runs were conducted by Manulife's Wellness Team for Manulifers including the Senior Leadership Team. Through sweat and determination, they had completed three practice runs totaling more than 15 km! At the actual Run about 20 Manulifers completed the 10 km route and were very proud of their own achievements.

Terry Fox Run - Photo2
Ms Annette King, President & CEO and Mr Hitesh Shah, Chief Marketing Officer of Manulife Singapore completing the Terry Fox Run

Ms Annette King, President & CEO, Manulife Singapore said: "I am pleased that Manulife staff and financial planners have pledged support for this good cause and have taken the initiative to participate in the Run. Overall, it was a good and rewarding time. Kudos to all for the time and strength given! The spirit of Terry Fox lives on, in all of us!"

LIA Annual Luncheon
5 March 2014, Marina Bay Sands Singapore

LIA Annual Luncheon - Registration Photo1 LIA Annual Luncheon - Registration Photo2
LIA Annual Luncheon - Registration Photo3 LIA Annual Luncheon - Registration Photo4
LIA Annual Luncheon - Registration Photo5 LIA Annual Luncheon - Registration Photo6
LIA President 2014 LIA President with Guest of Honour
LIA Annual Luncheon - Group Photo1 LIA Annual Luncheon - Group Photo2
LIA Annual Luncheon - Group Photo3 LIA Annual Luncheon - Group Photo4
LIA Annual Luncheon - VIP Table Photo1
LIA Annual Luncheon - VIP Table Photo2
LIA Annual Luncheon - VIP Table Photo3
LIA Annual Luncheon - VIP Table Photo4
LIA Annual Luncheon 2014

The annual luncheon was attended by Guest of Honour Ms Loo Siew Yee, Executive Director of the Insurance Department, Monetary Authority of Singapore, and industry representatives and associates.

Guest of Honour

Ms Loo delivered an affirming keynote address, of which an extract follows:

A Safe, Vibrant and Purposeful Life Insurance Industry

I pondered over what to say in my speech. After all, I have been the Executive Director of Insurance Department in MAS for all of six months, the exact same period of time that I have been involved in insurance supervision at all.

I thought I would start by sharing with you what an ex-colleague said to me when he learnt that I was going to be the new head of Insurance Department. He said, "You will find your job very meaningful. Insurance has a deep impact on society and individuals; it is one area of finance that serves a truly useful purpose."

It was a rather simple statement. On reflection, it captures what our entire purpose of insurance supervision should be - that insurers, and in the context of today's speech, life insurers, continue to perform, and perform well, their important role in and for society.

Role of Life Insurance in and for Society

Let me touch on 4 important aspects of life insurance's role in and for society.

First, it is a social protection mechanism.

Life insurance eases the financial burden caused by sudden misfortune or illness that can sometimes be the difference between financial security and destitution. In the case of health insurance, it provides access to healthcare that could have an even more direct impact on an individual's quality of life. Life insurance complements the role of the State by providing a mechanism by which members of society come together to share and therefore mitigate the impact of loss to the unfortunate few.

Second, it provides savings and wealth management options.

Life insurers have also played an increasingly important role as providers of savings and wealth management products that help individuals and their families preserve, protect and grow their savings and plan for future financial needs.

Third, it promotes societal advancement and economic progress.

Life insurance has a far wider and more profound impact that derives from these two primary functions. When individuals no longer fear destitution from sudden misfortune, they can confidently make economic decisions such as buying a home, making a long-term financial investment, and investing in their children's futures through, for example, higher education.

Those of a more entrepreneurial mindset might start a business, rather than counting on an employer to provide for them and their families should misfortune strike. With prudent planning, individuals do not have to cut back excessively on spending in their retirement years. By providing stability to society, life insurance promotes societal advancement and economic progress.

Fourth, it is a source of 'patient' capital.

Life insurers also contribute towards economic growth and stability by providing long-term, or 'patient' capital. Life insurers are significant institutional investors in Singapore, providing financing to many sectors of the economy. In 2013, life insurance companies managed over SGD140 billion in assets, with the majority of these investments held in government and corporate debt securities.

From our ongoing macro prudential surveillance, life and composite insurers hold about 10% of all outstanding Singapore corporate bond securities. Due to life insurers' liability profile, they are well placed to invest in long-term projects such as infrastructure projects and can play a stabilising role in the economy.

For the speech in full, go to http://www.lia.org.sg/files/news/2014/03/KeynoteAddress_GOH.pdf

Honouring our Volunteers

LIA could not have accomplished its mandate and work in 2013-14 without the contributions of more than 200 staff from member companies. Certificates of Appreciation were presented to the convenors of sub-committees and work groups.

Tang Loo Chuan

Tang Loo Chuan from Aviva
Convenor of Actuarial Subcommittee
Loo Chuan and his subcommittee continues to play an important role in developing the industry's response and implementation approach to various upcoming regulations on product disclosure.

Ms Mala Krishnan

Ms Mala Krishnan from Manulife
Convenor of CPD Assessment Committee
Mala's committee accredits Continuing Professional Development hours for programmes offered by training providers. Her team is also working on CPD-related changes coming through FAIR.

Dr Leow Yung Khee

Dr Leow Yung Khee from Great Eastern Life
Convenor of Group Insurance Subcommittee
Collaborating with the Singapore Insurance Brokers Association, Dr Leow and her subcommittee developed a new "Binder Billing" process for life insurers. This new process streamlines the administration of group insurance and significantly reduces credit risk for insurers.

Ms Lee How Teck

Ms Lee How Teck from Aviva
Convenor of Health Insurance Subcommittee
In the past year, How Teck and her subcommittee has worked closely with the Ministry of Health on the revisions to Integrated Shield Plans.  

Alex Lee

Alex Lee from Tokio Marine Life
Convenor of Risk-Based Capital 2 Task Force
Alex and his team led the industry's response to the proposed changes to the RBC framework, and the team continues to collaborate with the MAS to 'test drive' the new requirements prior to their finalisation and implementation.

K L Teh

K. L. Teh from Great Eastern Life
Convenor of Technology Risk Management Task Force
K L led his task force to review new requirements from MAS on technology risk management, and provided feedback to MAS on how to tackle implementation approaches challenges specific to the life industry.

Ms Sainava Bee Bee Lionel King

Ms Sainava Bee Bee from Great Eastern Life and Lionel King from Prudential
Co-convenors of Work Group on Personal Data Protection Act
Bee Bee and Lionel headed a large team that crafted two Codes of Practice, one for life insurers, and the other for tied representatives. Consulting with the Personal Data Protection Commission, the Codes articulate how the life industry applies the Act to its business practices.

Ms Lim Seok Keng

Ms Lim Seok Keng from Aviva
Convenor of Task Force on Integrated Shield Plans (Sales Advisory Process)
Seok Keng and her task force members worked with the Ministry of Health to enhance the sales process with improved disclosures to safeguard customers.

Tan Hak Leh

Tan Hak Leh from AIA
Chairperson of FAIR ImplementationTask Force
In his personal capacity, Hak Leh was a member of the FAIR Panel.  He continues to oversee all of LIA's FAIR implementation teams that are managing various thrusts of FAIR recommendations. 

Ms Irene Ng

Ms Irene Ng from General Re (Long Service)
Convenor of Underwriting & Claims Subcommittee
Irene spearheaded a review by the Subcommittee of the industry's longstanding Critical Illness Products Framework.  The standard definitions of CI conditions were revised to bring them up to date with medical advancements and practices; and the relevance of the cap on number of CIs covered was revisited.

Peter Teo

Peter Teo from NTUC Income (Long Service)
Convenor of Work Group on Financial Industry Competency Standards
Peter represents the life insurance industry on the FICS Steering Committee.  He also chairs LIA's Work Group that provides practitioners' inputs for on-going developmental work.

David Tan from AIA (Long Service)
Convenor of Compliance Subcommittee
David and his subcommittee deliberated on Tax Crimes as Money Laundering Predicate Offences in Singapore, and also updated a proposal on addressing Unclaimed Proceeds.

Ms Tan Seck Geok from Great Eastern Life (Long Service)
Convenor of Public Relations Subcommittee
Seck Geok and her team steers the life industry's yearly consumer education campaigns.  They were instrumental in organising LIA's 50th Anniversary Dinner back in 2012.

Note: David and Seck Geok were on business trips.

Great Eastern Life First Southeast Asian Life Insurer to set up Representative Office in Myanmar
8 March 2014

The Great Eastern Life Assurance Co., Ltd (Great Eastern Life) today opened its Myanmar representative office in Yangon. It is the first Southeast Asian life insurer to be granted approval and the permit to set up a representative office by the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration of Myanmar.

Great Eastern Life - Myanmar Rep Office Opening

In conjunction with the opening, Chris Wei, Group CEO, Great Eastern Holdings hosted lunch at a major hotel in Yangon. The Guest-of-Honour was His Excellency Dr Maung Maung Thein, Chairman of Insurance Business Supervisory Board and Deputy Minister, Ministry of Finance, Myanmar.

Commented Mr Wei, "These are extraordinary times for Myanmar. As its economy continues to expand and open up, we see tremendous opportunities where we can support the Myanmar authorities to develop the local insurance industry. As a market leader in Singapore and Malaysia with 106 years of rich legacy and an established footprint in emerging markets like Indonesia, Vietnam and Brunei, we are well-positioned to contribute our experience and expertise.

Myanmar has a population of over 60 million, with one of the lowest insurance penetration rates in Asia. We believe Great Eastern Life has much to offer in terms of an attractive customer value proposition and we are confident we can play an important role to help develop Myanmar's insurance industry through increasing awareness as well as sharing of knowledge and information with the local operators."

To mark the official opening of the Great Eastern Myanmar Representative Office, Great Eastern Life donated an eye machine and intraocular lenses to Jivitadan Hospital for the needy. Mr Wei presented the machine to the head of the hospital U Hla Myint.

The Great Eastern Myanmar Representative Office is located at Union Business Center, Level 3 Unit No. 03-09, Nat Mauk Road, Bo Cho Quarter, Bahan Township, Yangon, Myanmar.

Industry News

The Life Insurance Association, Singapore elected Dr Khoo Kah Siang, Chief Executive Officer of Great Eastern Life, as its President at the association's 12th Annual Luncheon on 5 March 2014. Mr Chris Gill, General Manager of Friends Provident International SEA, and Mr Ken Ng, Chief Executive Officer of NTUC Income, were re-elected as Deputy Presidents.

Dr Khoo will serve his first official term of office. As Deputy President in 2013, he succeeded Ms Annette King, who served as President until October 2013.

LIA President - Dr Khoo Kah Siang

Dr Khoo joined Great Eastern in 2006. In addition to his CEO role, he is also Chairman of Great Eastern Financial Advisers. He is an industry veteran with more than 18 years of experience in the financial sector, including four years as Deputy Director in the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

LIA Deputy President - Ken Ng

Mr Ken Ng, who serves his first term as Deputy President, is also NTUC Income's newly appointed Chief Executive Officer, a role which he was nominated for in October last year. He has over 20 years of experience having held various leadership positions in global insurance companies in the United Kingdom, Hong Kong and Singapore.

LIA Deputy President - Chris Gill

Mr Christopher Gill serves a third term as Deputy President and also brings with him more than 20 years of experience in the financial services sector. He took up his current role in 2006 when he was tasked to set up the operations of Friends Provident International Limited in Singapore. Prior to that, Mr Gill was based in Hong Kong as the Regional Sales Manager for Friends Provident.

Q&A with K Kadiresan

K Kadiresan - Photo1

With over two decades of experience in the life insurance industry, Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director of Life Insurance Corporation (Singapore) Pte Ltd, K Kadiresan firmly believes in hard work and persistence as the cornerstone to pave the way for life's successes.

The self-professed workaholic may come across as perpetually concentrated and composed but beneath that serious exterior lies a little-known fact, or so he says.

"I do have a sense of humour," he jokes.

"I like to read in my leisure time. Travel and photography are also passions of mine that I can't really seem to find the time for these days."

Passionately committed to his role at the helm of the Life Insurance Corporation (Singapore), Kadiresan hopes to take the company to new heights in the year to come. Singapore is ideally suited to be a hub in the Asia Pacific region.

"It is a great challenge and valuable learning experience to set up a green field operation. I am hopeful that the company will grow from strength to strength to become a significant player in this part of the world," he said.

Always one to embrace, learn and make the best from life's experiences, Kadiresan shares with us his governing philosophy in life.

"Life is a double entry book wherein for every debit there has to be a credit to ultimately tally the account," he muses.

Indeed, the free-spirited soul loves life for the kaleidoscope of experiences it brings. Originally from a communications background, Kadiresan has prior work experience in the HR, finance and corporate communications sectors before making his leap to the life insurance industry.

"I like to pursue things where I can make a difference in the lives of others, it is the one thing I am truly passionate about," he shares.

Of course, it is not just all work and no play - to unwind after a hard day's work, Kadiresan indulges in his second passion - reading and television!

We managed to sneak a chat with K Kadiresan and found out more fun facts:

Q. Who are your inspirations in life?

My father has always been my biggest inspiration. He has demonstrated through his life how to face challenges by hard work and perseverance. 

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

K Kadiresan - Photo2

Actually many and they all center around my two lovely daughters and their achievements.

Q. What irks you the most?

Noise and clutter!

Q. It's a new year. What are you looking forward to for the year ahead - career wise and personally?

Growth, happiness and fulfillment!

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