Issue No. 33 January - March 2018
Message from the PresidentIndustry Events
Industry NewsQ&A with Ben Tan

Message from the President

LIA President 2018

Life insurance industry achieves record-breaking growth in 2017

Singapore's life insurance industry crossed a milestone in 2017 with total weighted new business premiums[1] reaching S$4,088.2 million for the year. This is the highest amount recorded to date. A 24 per cent increase compared to the same period in 2016 affirms the industry's outstanding progress in the past 12 months.

Strong double-digit growth across both single and annual premium products was observed.

Weighted single premiums rose significantly by 43 per cent to reach S$1,463.9 million, based on a year-on-year comparison:

a)      Single premium par and non-par products comprised 73 per cent, the balance 27 per cent were single premium linked products;

b)      CPFIS-included products comprised 14 per cent; Cash-funded products took the remaining 86 per cent.

Increased sum assured and uptake of retirement-focused policies

I am encouraged to see ongoing efforts by members to help people in Singapore meet their protection needs. Total sum assured for new business rose by 12 per cent year-on-year, totalling S$130.5 billion, continuing an upward trend since 2014.

On the other key focus of retirement provision, the industry saw an uptake of 25,775 policies designed to provide regular payouts to policyholders during retirement years. This represents a 27 per cent increase from the previous year. Such plans account for approximately five per cent of total weighted premiums for YTD 4Q2017.

As at 31 December 2017, the life insurance industry paid out S$5.82 billion to policyholders and beneficiaries.

Key initiatives continue to make significant progress

Continued accessibility of healthcare and healthcare insurance

Health insurance premiums[2] totalled S$374 million for YTD 4Q2017, of which Integrated Shield Plans (IP) and IP riders together accounted for 91 per cent (S$341 million). The remaining nine per cent (S$33 million) came from other medical plans and riders.

Good progress was achieved to roll out the recommendations of the Health Insurance Task Force (HITF). Several insurers have introduced preferred panel of medical specialists and pre-authorisation of medical treatment as well as health and wellness initiatives for customers. Also, LIA is represented on the Fee Benchmark Advisory Committee appointed by the Ministry of Health to recommend fee guidelines for medical procedures and services.

Looking ahead

Industry transformation

LIA plans to release its Protection Gap Study in April, and to be followed by initiatives to help Singaporeans take action to close their personal protection gaps.

The life insurance industry will also step up efforts to create shared value in driving industry transformation.

Patrick Teow


[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] With effect from 1 January 2016, the MediShield Life premiums have been excluded from LIA statistics.

Industry Events

November 2017
Hacking their way out of life's curveballs

Income FDP Awardees
(from left: Flora, Sheril and Foxin)

When life gets tricky, it's time to get creative. 

That is what some Income OrangeAid's Future Development Programme (FDP) Awardees did to "hack" their way out of their life's challenging circumstances.

A'Fowsh Flora, 21, for one, scheduled the family's use of the bathroom, monitored gas usage, and even turned down the water pressure at home to cut down utilities usage. Her efforts paid off and she reduced their monthly bill from $300 to around $170.

Sheril, on the other hand, managed to turn household chores into an enjoyable activity. "My favourite chores are anything to do with clothes - washing, hanging, ironing and folding! I love to listen to music while doing my chores," the polytechnic student said. She took on the role of housemaker-in-chief so that her mum can work to support the family. Her most satisfying achievement? Whipping up a meal for her family of four with no more than $1.30. 

And for 21-year-old Lin Foxin, living out of a suitcase is something he does out of necessity, and not because he's a frequent flyer. Growing up, Foxin, an orphan, had to move several times - from children's homes to foster families, until his most recent move to stay and work at The Salvation Army in 2016.

Besides their resilience and resourcefulness to "hack" their way out of challenging circumstances, the three gutsy youngsters have another common thread - they are all Income OrangeAid's Future Development Programme (FDP) Awardees.

Their incredible stories were captured on video by renowned directors Royston Tan and Tan Shuming and launched as part of Income OrangeAid's awareness campaign last year. They garnered more than two million impressions on YouTube and Facebook, and also attracted prominent coverage in The Straits Times and Channel NewsAsia among others. 

Income OrangeAid disbursed 1,000 bursaries from 2015 to 2017 to students from low-income families, who would otherwise have to forgo their tertiary education to work to support their families.

The Future Development Programme supports tertiary students from the lowest income households by providing financial assistance for their school fees and living expenses, as well as equipping these students with financial literacy skills, career guidance and internship opportunities. Income wants to enable these youth to help lift their family's financial burdens, and bring themselves out of the poverty cycle so they can set money aside to secure their future.

Show your support and make a donation now at 

To read more stories of hope and courage, click here:

To watch the videos, click on the links below: 

January 2018
Launch of ManulifeMOVE

ManulifeMOVE visual

At Manulife, we believe that life insurance isn't just about protection - it should also reward you for living. Launched in January, ManulifeMOVE is Manulife Singapore's customer loyalty programme which rewards our customers with premium cashback for being active and staying healthy.

The ManulifeMOVE programme has been tailored to reflect everyday Singaporeans' lifestyles, fitness goals and rewards preferences. Qualifying customers who achieve an average of 10,000 steps daily will receive a recurring S$50 cashback every 6 months, until the end of their life insurance policy. The free-to-download ManulifeMOVE app is available on iOS and Android platforms, and can be synced with various wearable devices.

ManulifeMOVE videos

As part of the ManulifeMOVE advertising campaign, a series of refreshing, relevant and engaging key visuals were developed showing moves in everyday scenarios, which were used in various OOH formats. In addition, two videos featuring a Japanese "kaiju" and an Indian wedding were released online and on TV, entertaining and inspiring Singaporeans to move in more ways than one. 

Find out more about ManulifeMOVE at

1 February 2018
China Life Insurance Singapore Brand Campaign

A brand new campaign on double-decked buses to herald the financial strength of China Life is now on the road. The use of Yao Ming in this campaign, China Life's brand ambassador who is a Giant in the basketball realm, complements the brand messages of strength, credibility and magnitude of China Life - a Giant of the life insurance industry.

China Life Brand Campaign - Photo1
China Life Brand Campaign - Photo2
China Life Brand Campaign - Photo3

7 March 2018
16th LIA Annual Luncheon
MBS Sands Expo and Convention Center

Pre-lunch Cocktail
Registration Group Photo 1
Group Photo 2 Group Photo 3 
Group Photo 4 LIA President - Mr Patrick Teow
Guest of Honour - Mr Ong Chong Tee Appreciation
Guests - Photo 1
Guests - Photo 2
 Guests - Photo 3
Guests - Photo 4
Guests at the LIA Annual Luncheon 2018

Mr Patrick Teow who was re-elected as President of LIA Singapore, shared the three industry priorities for 2018:

1) Actively ensuring that Singapore Residents continue to have access to healthcare as members take steps to better manage medical inflation, and which will help reduce the increase in Singapore's healthcare expenditure in the years ahead,

2) Empowering individuals to better prepare for their future and that of their loved ones with adequate protection, and

3) Implementing digital initiatives for enhanced efficiencies to benefit consumers, and to gain insights through data analysis to deliver what consumers are looking for.

For Mr Teow's speech in full, please refer here.

This year's event was graced by Mr Ong Chong Tee, Deputy Managing Director (Financial Supervision) MAS. As Guest of Honour, he spoke on three aspects:

a) Bridging the protection gap;
b) Leveraging FinTech (or more specifically, InsurTech); and
c) Doing more to eliminate 'conduct gaps'.

For Mr Ong's speech in full, please refer here.

Industry News

Important Guidelines/Circulars issued



On 7 March 2018, the following eight member companies were elected to the Management Committee:

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

AXA Insurance Private Limited
Main Representative
Jean Drouffe, Chief Executive Officer

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

Great Eastern Life Assurance Company Limited
Main Representative
Khor Hock Seng, Group Chief Executive Officer

Manulife (Singapore) Private Limited
Main Representative
Khoo Kah Siang, President and 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


On 7 March 2018, the following representatives were elected as office bearers:

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

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

Deputy President
Tokio Marine Life Insurance Singapore Limited
Represented by
James Tan, Chief Executive Officer

Friends Provident International Limited (Singapore Branch)
Represented by
Andrew Waddell, Managing Director, Singapore

AXA Insurance Private Limited
Represented by
Neil Frith, Managing Director, Life

December 2017
Income plugs the Protection Gap of the "Sandwiched" Generation with the launch of low-cost insurance solution

Income - Family Protect

NTUC Income introduced 'Family Protect', a unique term-life protection proposition with the "sandwiched" generation in mind to enhance the financial security of those supporting intergenerational dependents.

"The need to juggle different immediate priorities may understandably leave the "sandwiched" generation with little disposable income for making provisions for an equally important priority, that of responding to possible future risks. It would be useful for them to participate in an affordable scheme made possible by pooling risks with others in the community to mitigate the potential of such risks," said NUS sociologist Tan Ern Ser.

Addressing this gap 'Family Protect' offers two options of coverage - S$50,000 and S$100,000 sum assured - across a term of 10 years in the event of death, total permanent disability (TPD), terminal illness (TI) and upon diagnosis of dreaded diseases such as major cancers, stroke, specific heart disease, as well as, end-stage lung and liver disease.

Its monthly premiums are kept affordable, and in turn sustainable, as our findings showed that the "sandwiched" generation often has little disposable income each month given their high financial commitment. For example, a 40-year-old man (non-smoker) will pay a monthly premium of S$23 for 'Family Protect' for a sum assured of S$50,000. For a coverage of S$100,000, the monthly premium will be $45.

Mr Andrew Yeo, Income's General Manager for Life & Health Insurance, said, " 'Family Protect' underscores Income's commitment to make insurance accessible to people in Singapore, including the unserved and underserved segments of society. It is no surprise that those in the "sandwiched" generation are often underinsured as they continue to face rising intergenerational pressure as life expectancy is now longer in a highly competitive society. With this in mind, we have designed 'Family Protect' to be a low-cost option that offers benefits that relate to the vulnerabilities of the "sandwiched" generation, which in turn, address their needs to enhance their financial security and that of their loved ones practically."

January 2018
Income launches Digital IP

Income - Mr Peter Tay

NTUC Income launched in January a portal that allows customers to purchase its Integrated Shield Plan (IP), IncomeShield, digitally.

An industry first, the new portal ( offers heightened accessibility, convenience and speed in which an IP can be purchased, claimed and managed 24/7 online. New customers with no pre-existing health conditions get to enjoy instant approval and coverage within five to 10 minutes of the application.

Previously, customers who are interested in taking out an IP can obtain a quote online, but will still require an insurance adviser to follow up with them based on the initial information submitted to complete the purchase. The new digital proposition for IP, however, plays to the ways customers access, engage and use information digitally these days.

Mr Peter Tay, Income's Chief Operating Officer, said: "Income recognises technology to be a core enabler in transforming insurance and we are committed to identify, tap and build on these enablers to digitise our business while we explore new opportunities concurrently.

"At the same time, we see value in setting a new standard for customers - old and new - to learn about, engage with and enjoy a positive experience with IP as it is such an essential scheme to safeguard the long-term medical and hospitalisation needs of Singaporeans at large," added Mr Tay, who also heads Income's Digital Transformation Office.

February 2018
Singaporeans' top financial fears revealed in Income survey

Income Fear Less Survey

NTUC Income recently conducted a survey with SPH to find out what kind of fears Singaporeans have when it comes to savings and protection.

Commissioned by Income as part of its Fear Less campaign to encourage Singaporeans to prepare for life's uncertainties with insurance and proper financial planning, Marcus Chew, Income's Chief Marketing Officer, said, "Our sense of fearlessness diminishes as we take on more responsibilities and live through different experiences as an adult. But with insurance and proper financial planning, one can fear less about life's uncertainties and enjoy better peace of mind."

To this end, Income's Head of Brand Marketing, Olivia Lee, said the partnership with SPH complemented the campaign's dual objectives to bring awareness and generate conversations around protection and financial planning needs.

She added: "The survey allowed us to identify specific concerns of consumers, which our advisers can then leverage to provide better advice to their clients."

Seventy-four per cent of the more than 550 people who participated in the survey said they were most fearful of critical illnesses or accidents that would leave them unable to lead the life they want. Others were fearful that they would not be able to afford healthcare costs or have enough money set aside for retirement.

In a report published in Lianhe Zaobao after the survey concluded, Income's General Manager for Life and Health Insurance Andrew Yeo said the findings are not surprising. "Generally, no one wants to be caught short when a life crisis strikes. In this regard, buying appropriate insurance cover is a prudent way of getting protection against such risks."

Similarly, Mr Yeo said that the principle for retirement planning is that it is never too early to start. In fact, this study has shown that the main reason most people cannot retire comfortably is that they started saving too late, only around their 40s.

However, he cautioned: "Have realistic expectations about your lifestyle during retirement, because if you do not, then you might start to think that your retirement goals are too difficult to attain... The key here is to achieve a balance."

6 February 2018
Asian investors plough one billion pound into London new-build property market

New analysis by Old Mutual International shows the extent of this dominance and highlights the need for overseas investors to consider UK inheritance tax within their financial planning.

Analysis by Old Mutual International, using data from the Office of National Statistics in the UK and the Centre for Housing Policy in the UK, shows that an estimated one billion pound was invested in the London new-build property market alone in 2017 from Asian investors, predominantly based in Hong Kong and Singapore. 

With so much money flowing into the UK new-build property market, investors need to be aware of their potential exposure to UK inheritance tax (IHT). IHT is payable on death on any property or assets owned in the UK by the deceased. This is irrespective of domicile status or whether the deceased lived in the UK or overseas.

Read more here:

14 February 2018
Tokio Marine's Chatbot can now help Customers find Panel Clinics in 3 Easy Steps

With the aim of reducing administrative hassle and improving accessibility, Tokio Marine Life Insurance Singapore Ltd. (TMLS) has recently introduced a new functionality to their TOMI chatbot. Users can now conveniently locate TMLS panel clinics within their designated search areas and further filter results by clinic location and doctor specialisation.

Information about panel clinics is one of the top three queries posed to TMLS advisers. Previously users needed to scan through an extensive list of over 600 panel clinics online.

The updated TOMI is intuitive for all users, and it also frees advisers up for more complex queries.

TOMI can now help users search for their nearest panel clinic
How to use the new TOMI function
STEP 1 - Access TOMI on Facebook Messenger and key in "Looking for a doctor" or "Find me a doctor"
TOMI - Step 1
STEP 2 - Select the preferred doctor (e.g. GP, Female Doctor, Paediatrician)
TOMI - Step 2
STEP 3 - Share your location or key in the postal code or area name (e.g. Bedok)
TOMI - Step 3
TOMI - Step 4

Q&A with Ben Tan

Ben Tan

Ben Tan, Managing Director, Regional Agency/ FA & Bancassurance, Great Eastern Life

Educational background
Bachelor of Science (Marketing & International Business), 1994
Indiana University, Bloomington USA

Career background
Over 22 years in both General and Life Insurance in Business Development, Worksite Marketing, Accident & Health with the last 12 years in distribution management. Currently Managing Director, Regional Agency/FA & Bancassurance, Great Eastern.

1.  What are some of your career highlights?

I joined Great Eastern in 2008 and was then leading the Agency channel. I now have the privilege of leading the key distribution channels in the company. It gives me great personal satisfaction to have grown with the company and be part of the team that has built and shaped the company's distribution network to its leading position today.

2. Do you have a personal philosophy for life/career that you strongly believe in?
We should start every single day trying to make a positive impact on someone - be it a word of encouragement, a smile, an advice or even a pat on the back. In this digital age, society needs more of such personal touches.

My philosophy on career: this African Proverb resonates strongly with me - "That if you want to go fast, you go alone. If you want to go far, go in a group." I firmly believe that if we have the right attitude, skills set and intellectual capability, we can really go fast and climb up the corporate ladder rapidly. But if we really want to go far and stay on in an organisation to continue to contribute to it, we need to work as a group. This is very much the culture in Great Eastern where our mantra is "Moving Together As One".
3. What do you usually do in your leisure time?

Ben Tan and his family

My focus during weekends is on my family. My siblings will come over to my house for dinner as my mother is staying with me. In line with Great Eastern's LIFE company purpose where we champion health and wellness, a 5- to 8-km run per week is a must for me. Monthly Sunday golf outings with my kakis is something I look forward to as well.
4. Who are your inspirations in life?
Men and women who work tirelessly in this industry to ensure there is enough food on the table, a roof over the family and education for the children when unexpected things happen. I am referring to the advisers in our industry who play an important role in society by providing peace of mind... and who do not get the full credit they deserve. Whenever I hear stories of how insurance has helped families to ride through difficult times or a Critical Illness payout had helped someone to get the medical treatment needed, I am thankful that we have a group of dedicated advisers who made these possible.
5.  Tell us about a little-known fact about yourself.
I love to cook albeit not MasterChef standard but I do have my fan base within the family!
6. Describe your proudest moment.
To join Great Eastern in 2008 when the company celebrated its centennial. A decade later, we are celebrating our 110th anniversary... stronger and a market leader. It gives me immense satisfaction to have contributed in some way to the company's success.
7. Complete the sentence: "I love my job because ..."

Ben Tan - Great Eastern event

I am in the industry where we help to rebuild lives when the unfortunate happen, taking care of ones' financial needs when he or she lives too long or helping policyholders to leave behind a lasting legacy for the next generation.

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