Issue No. 29 January - March 2017
Message from the PresidentIndustry Events
Industry NewsQ&A with Naveed Irshad

Message from the President

LIA President - Mr Patrick Teow

We are cautiously optimistic of the life insurance industry's capacity for growth and continued contribution to Singapore's progress, just as the industry recorded a growth of 10 per cent for 2016.

Both the 2017 Budget and Committee on the Future Economy (CFE) Report painted a vision for us all to move forward together amidst a fast-changing global environment. This is a vision we share as the life insurance industry, pioneering innovations for the future by strengthening digital capabilities and empowering our workforce with future skills. Importantly, all these efforts are aimed at promoting protection, financial security and peace of mind for the community. This remains the Association's top priority in 2017.

LIA Singapore's focus for 2017

  • Managing the affordability of healthcare
  • Bridging the underinsurance gap
  • Enhancing consumer interest

Managing the affordability of healthcare

The Health Insurance Task Force (HITF) in October 2016 established that healthcare cost inflation is outstripping general consumer inflation, driven by factors such as a rapidly ageing population and use of costly new medical technology, and that healthcare cost inflation is set on an upward trend if left unmanaged.

Combating escalating healthcare cost inflation requires the efforts of all stakeholders within the ecosystem.

We believe that the life insurance industry players will take the first of various initiatives to keep healthcare affordable and accessible for Singaporeans.  

Bridging the underinsurance gap

Having adequate insurance protection is especially important in a time of uncertainty, which is what we are facing today.

S$462 billion - that was the national protection gap in Singapore in 2011, according to the Association's study a few years back. The working adult on average had a protection gap of 3.7 times of his annual income, based on a protection need that was calculated to be 10 times of one's annual salary. 

Has this gap narrowed since then? The LIA is conducting a fresh protection gap study soon.

Enhancing consumer interest

Firstly, we are working on implementing the remaining FAIR recommendations. They include enhanced disclosures in the Benefit Illustration, which will itself be renamed to "Policy Illustration", new disclosures on bundled products, and a new "Cover Page" for participating and non-participating products.

Secondly, more and more members are leveraging digital technologies to make life insurance products and services more accessible to consumers.

Given the strong progress we made in 2016 in spite of it being a difficult year, we are in a good place to execute the plans we have set out to do.

Patrick Teow

Industry Events

18 February 2017
Singapore Cancer Society Relay for Life 2017
Silver Sponsor, AIA Singapore

SCS Relay for Life 2017
Thank you for your participation!

Held for the first time in Singapore, SCS Relay for Life 2017 saw more than 6,000 participants coming together on 18 February 2017 at Bukit Gombak Stadium to celebrate the lives of cancer survivors, remember those lost to the disease and support the fight against cancer.

The 17-hour community event was kick-started by Guest of Honour, Mr Gan Kim Yong, Minister of Health, flagging off the Cancer Survivors Lap. Besides being a Silver Sponsor, AIA Singapore also supported the event with more than 500 AIA staff, FSCs, families and AIA Vitality members wearing AIA-Spurs jerseys and red t-shirts to join in the walk with other corporate sponsors.

Other than walking or jogging round the stadium track and clocking AIA Vitality points, participants also enjoyed fringe activities such as the ever popular blender bikes at the AIA Vitality booth.

A BIG thank you to everyone for joining us at the SCS Relay for Life 2017! Every effort goes a long way! You may view the full photo album at the AIA Singapore Facebook page.

6 March 2017
2017 Annual Luncheon of the Life Insurance Association Singapore
Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel

More than 200 guests, including regulators, heads of financial sector associations and training bodies, and staff of member companies of LIA, were gathered to share a meal and 'talk shop'.

Reception Group Photo
Group Photo Group Photo
Group Photo LIA President
Guest of Honour Token of Appreciation
Guests Guests
Guests Group
VIP Table
VIP Table

Mr Lee Boon Ngiap, Assistant Managing Director, Monetary Authority of Singapore, graced the occasion as our Guest of Honour and spoke on Culture and Conduct - A Regulatory Perspective.

Highlights of the Address

I will share MAS' regulatory perspective on the importance of culture as a key driver of conduct, and set out some thoughts on what more can be done to promote a positive culture in financial institutions.

In the aftermath of the global financial crisis, regulators introduced a slew of reforms aimed at strengthening the resilience and stability of the financial system.

While the life insurance industry may not have been at the forefront of the major misconduct cases making global headlines, some of these conduct costs involve mis-selling of products and inappropriate advice. The need to pay attention to culture to avoid paying the price of misconduct is clearly equally applicable to the life insurance industry, particularly when it involves poor financial advisory practices.    
What is culture and why it matters

We see it as the shared values, attitudes and norms that guide behaviour in an organisation. Culture reflects the underlying mindset of an organisation and affects how an organisation and its staff act and make decisions, oftentimes without thinking consciously about it.

Getting the culture right in financial institutions is critical because poor culture can be a driver of poor conduct. The financial industry's most valuable asset - trust - can be significantly undermined by poor conduct. And all financial institutions need their customers to trust them in order to build a sustainable business.

One of the outcomes that MAS seeks to promote is transparency and fair dealing by financial institutions - among others, this involves instilling fair business practices in the marketing and distribution of financial products and services.

MAS' approach to culture and conduct

The focus on culture is not new to MAS, some of our rules and guidelines already set out our regulatory expectations on culture and conduct. For the financial advisory business, let me highlight three initiatives:

  • Guidelines on Fair Dealing (2009)
    The board and senior management of financial institutions are accountable for setting the culture and direction to align business practices with fair dealing outcomes.
  • The balanced scorecard framework under FAIR
    Non-financial performance measures are added to volume-based remuneration arrangements, to better align the interests of financial advisers and their representatives with that of their customers. 
  • Regulations on complaints handling and resolution
    Financial advisory firms are to establish an independent and prompt process for handling and resolving complaints from retail customers.

These can be seen as measures to promote and reinforce the right culture in financial institutions and among their staff. 

Assessing culture and its impact on conduct inherently poses a greater challenge than prudential supervision because culture cannot be quantified nor easily monitored. But we believe it is as important as capital and liquidity, and should receive equally close attention from regulators and financial institutions.

We are interested in looking beyond the existence of a compliance and control framework to assess if financial institutions have a supporting culture that incentivises their employees and agents to do the right thing, rather than just doing what's legal.

What constitutes right or wrong behaviour cannot be reduced to what is permissible under the law. The shared values, attitudes and norms that guide behaviour in an organisation cannot be dictated solely by external, nor internal rules.

Role of financial institutions in promoting a positive culture

There is no silver bullet but I would like to suggest a few key drivers that boards and senior management can focus on to promote a positive culture.     

First, a strong and clear tone from the top
This is about 'walking the talk' - making decisions that reflect what is said. This is about board and senior management treating culture with the same importance as capital, and demonstrating that values matter as much, if not more, than valuations. This tone from the top must percolate to middle management, as employees and agents are more directly influenced by their supervisors whom they interact with on a daily basis. Firms should put in place governance structures to regularly monitor that the mood-in-the-middle and the echo-from-the-ground resonate with the tone from the top, i.e., are people doing the right thing even when nobody is watching?

Second, people management and incentives
How a firm rewards and manages its employees and agents send a clear signal about the accepted corporate culture. If they see that high revenue producers are rewarded despite, or even because of poor conduct, that is a sure recipe for poor culture to take root in an organisation.

Third, escalation policies
A firm's employees and agents are its best monitors. They should feel safe to speak up and effectively challenge practices and decisions that they may have concerns about. A culture of openness will encourage staff to raise potential red flags on misconduct with confidence and without the fear of reprisals or jeopardising their jobs.

Fourth, recruitment and training
In making hiring decisions, apart from looking at the individual or team's ability to bring in sales, it would be critical for firms to also consider if the individual or team's values are aligned with that desired by the organisation. As the quote attributed to Warren Buffet goes "in looking for people to hire, you look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence and energy. And if you don't have the first, the other two will kill you". 

Lastly, self-policing
Where an instance of misconduct is detected, the firm's leadership should ask if the behaviour is pervasive and where else the behaviour could have occurred. In addition to just addressing isolated instances of misconduct, firms should always seek to identify if there is a root cause of the bad behaviour that needs to be fixed so that the problem goes away for good. 

For the full speech, go to

10 to 19 March 2017
48th Singapore National Age Group Swimming Championships

China Life Insurance Singapore makes a splash as new title sponsor of the 48th Singapore National Age Group Swimming Championships

China Life Insurance (Singapore) Pte. Ltd. has assumed its first title sponsorship - China Life Insurance Singapore National Age Group (Snag) Swimming Championships, which is also the final local qualifying meet for the biennial Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur in August.

"China Life, as a Group entity, has always believed and supported the development of sports. We, as part of one of the world's largest insurance firms, want to continue this well-established support for sports in Singapore as well. We hope that our sponsorship will further promote the local sporting culture and motivate these athletes to a higher level of sporting excellence.", said Mr Tony Chow, Chief Executive of China Life Insurance Singapore.

This sponsorship also saw China Life promoting swimming as an accessible and inclusive sport for special needs students from Pathlight School. It launched a "learn to swim" CSR programme, which gave these students an opportunity to compete in a "grand final" swim relay during the Junior Finals Snag at OCBC Aquatic Centre.

China Life - First Title Sponsorship

Social media platforms were developed to engage the millennials and the swimming fraternity, including creating contests to raise engagement level with the general public. We also presented a workshop with Ms May Yim Schooling as guest speaker to share her experiences about raising a world beating swimmer, Joseph Schooling, at Chinese Swimming Club.

Guest Speaker - Ms May Yim Schooling

Industry News

1 January 2017
AXA completes the consolidation of its General and Life insurance entities in Singapore

On 1 January, AXA Insurance Singapore successfully completed the transfer of its business to AXA Life Insurance Singapore. With the consolidation of both general and life insurance, the new entity is now known as AXA Insurance Pte Ltd. As a composite insurer, AXA Insurance now provides customers with a comprehensive picture of their insurance needs, giving them greater convenience to access a full range of integrated general and life insurance solutions.

AXA Tower
AXA Tower

25 January 2017
AIA Singapore launches AIA Quality Healthcare Partners

AIA Singapore launched the AIA Quality Healthcare Partners in January 2017, making AIA Singapore the first insurer in the market to establish direct partnerships with the medical community, better allowing AIA Singapore to ensure high quality, positive experiences and affordable healthcare services for Singapore.

As a leading insurer in Singapore, AIA Singapore strongly advocates for greater collaboration across stakeholders within Singapore's healthcare eco-system to ensure that healthcare and medical coverage remains affordable for all.

The network includes more than 130 trusted medical professionals and AIA Singapore looks to continue growing this number to 200 medical professionals by the end of 2017. All AIA HealthShield Gold Max policyholders can gain access to this network.

AIA Singapore has also launched a website with appointment booking services to make it convenient for customers to identify and access the network of medical professionals. A mobile application will also be launched in March 2017 to provide customers with these services at their fingertips.

January 2017
TOMI and TM Wave initiatives boost efficiency


Tokio Marine Life Insurance Singapore Ltd. (TMLS) launched TOMI, Singapore's first self-learning chatbot for advisers, earlier this year. Two months in, TMLS found that 95 per cent of users continue to engage TOMI regularly and the average number of conversations per active user has increased by 63 per cent, indicating that advisers find TOMI useful and see value in using it to support their day-to-day work.

We are proud to see that the introduction of technology has empowered our advisers by allowing them to focus on handling more complex customer queries. Advisers can expect to receive improved support as TOMI expands its knowledge base through keeping track of questions it is unable to answer.

TM Wave

TMLS also launched TM Wave, a mobile application that speeds up the process of submitting outstanding documents for all new business applications. The application has since been downloaded over 700 times.

6 March 2017
Etiqa Insurance partners insurtech start-up PolicyPal to help people manage, track and understand their insurance policies

How it works

Etiqa is proud to be one of the first two insurers to partner PolicyPal, an Insurtech start-up and the first FinTech to receive approval from the MAS, to help individuals understand and track their insurance coverage, and empower people to make informed decisions on protection needs.

Marketed as a convenient digital insurance management app, users can upload their existing policies to understand their insurance coverage summary, or chat with PolicyPal's Digital Insurance Manager to find out more about their insurance portfolio through the in-app needs analysis and get new protection on the go.

"This partnership with PolicyPal supports our brand promise to humanise insurance, to offer solutions that are simpler and more personal. With a good range of our products already available on our website for customers to purchase online, on mobile, we are pleased to be leveraging on the changes brought about by the digital age to offer more convenience and accessibility to users via an intuitive platform like PolicyPal." said Mr. Sue Chi Kong, Chief Executive Officer of Etiqa Insurance Pte. Ltd.

Customers can now get protected with policies from Etiqa Insurance via the PolicyPal app in a few easy steps. Among the policies available for purchase are Personal Mobility insurance and Mosquito insurance, Mozguard. In addition, Etiqa is offering one year free term life insurance to newlyweds and new parents through the app, to help them take the first step to protecting their families.

Customers can also look forward to more products from Etiqa being made available for purchase through the app in the near future.

6 March 2017
Election of LIA Management Committee Members 2017-18

The following eight Ordinary Members were elected to the LIA Management Committee on 6 March 2017 for a one-year term of office:

AIA Singapore Private Limited
Main Representative
Patrick Teow, Chief Executive Officer

AXA Insurance Private Limited
Main Representative
Neil Frith, Managing Director, Life

Friends Provident International Limited (Singapore Branch)
Main Representative
Andrew Waddell, Managing Director, Singapore

Great Eastern Life Assurance Company Limited
Main Representative
Khoo Kah Siang, Senior Managing Director, Strategic Business Development & Regional Bancassurance

Manulife (Singapore) Private Limited
Main Representative
Naveed Irshad, Chief Executive Officer

NTUC Income Insurance Cooperative Limited
Main Representative
Ken Ng, Chief Executive

Prudential Assurance Company Singapore (Private) Limited
Main Representative
Wilfred Blackburn, Chief Executive Officer

Tokio Marine Life Insurance Singapore Limited
Main Representative
James Tan, Chief Executive Officer

Officers of the Association

LIA President - Mr Patrick Teow

AIA Singapore Private Limited
Represented by
Patrick Teow, Chief Executive Officer

LIA Deputy President - Mr Ken Ng

Deputy President
NTUC Income Insurance Cooperative Limited
Represented by
Ken Ng, Chief Executive

LIA Deputy President - Mr Naveed Irshad

Deputy President
Manulife (Singapore) Private Limited
Represented by
Naveed Irshad, Chief Executive Officer

LIA Members' Circular No. 28
Issued 6 March 2017


Q&A with Naveed Irshad

Mr Naveed Irshad

Naveed Irshad
President and Chief Executive Officer, Manulife Singapore

Naveed Irshad is the President and CEO of Manulife Singapore and a member of Manulife's Asia Division Executive Committee. He is responsible for the overall development of Manulife's business operations in Singapore. This includes key business segments - protection, retirement solutions, high net worth and wealth management - across a multi-channel distribution platform.

Naveed has well over 20 years of industry experience and has a deep understanding of the global life insurance industry. His expertise includes general management, product development, risk management, pricing and reinsurance.

Naveed is the current Deputy President of Life Insurance Association Singapore. Naveed is also a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries (FSA) and of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries (FCIA), and is a Member of the American Academy of Actuaries (MAAA).

What are some of your career highlights?

The scale and speed of our success here at Manulife Singapore. We've achieved a significant increase in market share within only two years. Our financial strength, dynamic multi-channel distribution model and everyone working as a team really drove this success.

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

Being genuine and humble are of utmost importance.

Treating people professionally is crucial, particularly when someone is in a leadership role as the culture set at the top will permeate throughout the organisation.

Having the right guiding principles is key to evaluating and understanding rationales behind decisions. We don't want to be too focused on restrictions - instead, having the right guiding principles empowers our people to question the status quo. They will in turn feel empowered to take ownership, and feel motivated to make a real difference to our customers' lives.

This philosophy of having a fundamental set of guiding principles and empowering people also carries through to my personal life, especially with my kids.

What do you usually do in your leisure time? 

Family Photo 1
Family Photo 2

Most of my personal time is spent with my two sons, who are 13 and 9 years old. They enjoy baseball and squash, so most of my weekends are spent lugging them around to their sports activities!

I personally enjoy squash - it's enjoyable yet efficient: 40-45mins of squash is good enough to get a great workout.

Travelling is another passion of mine. There are many great spots around the region, and we've visited many - from Bangkok, Penang, Langkawi to Hong Kong, Tokyo and Seoul, just to name a few.

Who are your inspirations in life?

On a business front, Warren Buffet is a financial stalwart whom I find to be a humble, genuine person. What makes his story even more inspiring is that he's successful by using common sense and not overcomplicating things.

Nelson Mandela and Muhammad Ali are my personal inspirations. They both stood up for the right causes at great personal sacrifice - particularly Mandela. I admire their messages of love and hope, especially when it's from people like them who 'walk the talk'.

Tell us about a little-known fact about yourself.

I am the only person among my immediate family members who isn't a doctor.

Describe your proudest moment.

Family Photo 3

Anything that involves my children - they are my source of pride, including their academic and athletic successes.

Complete the sentence: "I love my job because ..."

I love my job because I get to work with outstanding and inspired people daily who want to make a difference for our clients.

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