Issue No. 3 July - September 2010
Message from the PresidentIndustry Events
Industry NewsQ&A with David Beynon
Q&A with Walter de Oude

Message from the President

LIA PresidentFriends and Colleagues

Robust sales boost half year results 

I am pleased to report that the life insurance industry expanded 28 per cent in the first half of 2010 with total weighted* new business premiums at $671 million, up from $524 million for the corresponding 2009 period.

Backed by positive economic conditions and market sentiments, sales were robust for all products. Regular premiums reached $518 million, a 26 per cent growth over the same period in 2009. Single premiums hit $2.09 billion in the first six months, marking a significant 36 per cent improvement over last year. 

In tandem with improving market sentiments, investment-linked sales increased by 6 percentage points over the previous corresponding period to 30 per cent of total new business.

Growth of health insurance continued unabated, increasing by 10 per cent to reach $77 million over the first half of 2010.

*The weighted new business premium figure is calculated as follows:
10% SPI + 100% API with adjustment for premium payment terms of less than 10 years

Maintaining customers' financial well-being, a core value to uphold

Vision
To provide individuals with peace of mind and to promote a society where every person is prepared for life's changing cycles and for those situations unforeseen.

Mission
To be a progressive life insurance industry by collectively enhancing consumer understanding, promoting industry best practices, and through the association fostering a spirit of collaboration and mutual respect with government and business leaders.

Values

- Unified in our resolve to deliver innovative solutions where every individual's needs are best met.
- Professional  in the way we conduct ourselves and in the counsel we give.
- Ethical in ensuring our policyholders' interests are managed with utmost integrity.
- Fair in how we strive to provide favourable outcomes to both our policyholders and shareholders.
- Open & honest in all that we do to build an environment of trust and transparency.
- Proactive in the steps we take to improve our skills and knowledge to constantly provide sound solutions.

In the last issue of this newsletter, I urged members to focus on fulfilling the industry's vision with greater intensity and urgency.

While that always sets the ultimate purpose, in an environment of positive sales fuelled by an economy forecast to grow by between 13 and 15 per cent (which are conservative estimates), I cannot overemphasise just how much more critical it is for us to be not simply professing but doing all that we should and are able to, to uphold both the mission and core values we ascribe to.

Let members closely monitor the quality of new business achieved, whether it is good and improving. Let members reaffirm that the customer's interest in every way is of paramount importance and priority. Let members resolve to 'walk the talk'.

Building a progressive life insurance industry, together

At the end of the day, our customers' satisfaction and financial well-being form an inseparable part of individual insurers' well-being and of the industry's collective well-being.

We take pride in distinguishing our industry from others by being issuers of long-term to very long-term financial products. As such, let us all determine afresh to uphold the Association's guidelines and best practices, step up mutual cooperation, and thereby promote sustainable healthy growth and vibrancy of the life industry in Singapore.

President Signature

Tan Hak Leh

Industry Events

Sponsors 
Munich Re LogoNTUC Income Logo
 

2ND LIFE PROTECTION SEMINAR
Selling cover beyond the basic national schemes
October 5, 2010
M Hotel, Singapore

Registration Form is available on the LIA and SAS websites

Building on last year's success, the Life Insurance Association of Singapore and the Singapore Actuarial Society are jointly organising their 2nd Life Protection Seminar on the theme of "Selling cover beyond the basic national schemes".

The national schemes in Singapore offer a basic level of protection, however the LIA Protection Gap study has shown that Singaporeans' protection needs are underserved. This seminar is to explore ways that will decrease the protection gap via product innovation, targeted marketing and education of consumers of their needs.

We have an exciting panel of speakers, as well as the CEO Roundtable to give you the opportunity to question today's market leaders. Our lunchtime Guest of Honor is Don Yeo, Deputy CEO, Central Provident Fund Board, who will give us his insights into this issue.
 
We look forward to seeing you there! - The Organising Committee
  
Courtesy call by Insurance Association of China
 
Jin Jianqiang, Chairman, and Wang Zhichao, Secretary General of the Insurance Association of China (IAC) visited Singapore in July 2010. During their stay, they visited with LIA, SIAS, GIA, SCI and MAS. 

On 27 July, LIA hosted the two top officials. They were accompanied by Huang Tao Yuan from Great Eastern Life's Beijing office, and Ms Chen Xiaoqing, who interpreted the discussion most ably.

A brief presentation about the LIA was made. The distinguished guests were keen to understand the nature and quality of relations between the association and the regulator. M/s Jin and Wang also raised the challenge of handling customer complaints and disputes. The President of LIA elaborated on the framework in Singapore, describing the roles and work performed by the Consumer Association of Singapore (CASE) and the Financial Industry Disputes Resolution Centre (FIDReC).

The delegation also inquired about the Central Provident Fund (CPF) system and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) before adjourning to the MAS. 

Insurance Association of China
Jin Jianqiang, Chairman, IAC (3rd from left), Wang Zhichao, Secretary General, IAC (2nd from left), Huang Tao Yuan, Chief Representative, Great Eastern Beijing Representative Office (extreme right), Representatives of Great Eastern Singapore

IAC visits Great Eastern Life
 
The team also toured the Great Eastern Customer Service Centre and Centre for Excellence. The insurer's Group CEO hosted them to a dinner where ideas and experiences were further exchanged.  

Chairman Jin was impressed with the regulatory structure of the Singapore insurance industry, the cohesiveness and cooperation between LIA/GIA and MAS, initiatives by MAS to educate the public and the training curriculum at the SCI.

Life is Great at 102!

Life is Great at 102!
 
26 August was a Red-Letter Day for Great Eastern as the insurer celebrated its 102nd birthday.

Themed Life is Great at 102!, the celebrations involved staff, agency leaders, life planners and business partners, all donned in signature red. Chairman Mrs Fang Ai Lian and top management led in the cake-cutting ceremony.
 
The less privileged were not forgotten. GE staff and life planners visited AWWA Community Home for Senior Citizens and MINDS Fernvale Gardens School to distribute cup cakes and spread the birthday cheer.
 
Commented Mr Tan Hak Leh, CEO Singapore, "As we celebrate our 102nd birthday, we reaffirm our commitment to serving 3.8 million policyholders with greater dedication and always putting our customers first."
 
Know Your Financial Health Campaign
 
To commemorate a decade of LIA introducing Know Your Client needs-based advisory process, and to support the efforts of representatives on the ground, LIA is running a series of radio advertisements, and seminars - from 26 July to 23 October 2010.

The LIA radio advertisements launched on 26 July are aired over 13 weeks on Live938. They run 3 times each day (morning and evening drive times, and lunch hour) on Mondays to Fridays.
 
A series of seminars for the public is also conducted with the first one held on 7 August at Suntec Convention Centre. Each session features an external guest speaker and a speaker who represents the association, drawn from the member company in charge.

External speakers include medical specialists, legal counsel, university academic, financial services / wealth management trainer and mortgage specialist.

A sampling of sight and sound bites:

7 August

LIA Speaker (7 Aug)  Dr Tan Chong Hiok (7Aug)   LIA Helpers

"Informative, clear to understand, especially the very good video clip of stent and heart by-pass procedures; Insurance segment was informative." - Dolly Wong 
 
28 August

Dr See (28 Aug)  Registration (28 Aug)  LIA Speaker (28 Aug)

"Dr See on cancer was very insightful." - Jennifer Ng

"Good!" - Cheng Woon Leng
 
4 September       

LIA Speaker (4 Sep)  Mr Bernard Lim (4 Sep)  Audience (4 Sep)

"Very informative on estate planning" - Amy Chew

"Great insights!" - Wong Chau Farn

MFPA Conference 2010
Islamic Inheritance: Updates & Developments
- Current Issues in Insurance Nominations, Joint Tenancies and CPF

 
5 August 2010 at M Hotel, Singapore
Supported by LIA
 
Two significant developments are affecting Muslims in their financial and estate planning.

  • the passing of Insurance (Amendment) Act 2009 and the amendments to Section 111 of the Administration of Muslim Law Act, which gave rise to concerns in the insurance industry on the ability of Muslim policyholders to make revocable nominations 
     
  • the judgment of Singapore Court of Appeal in March 2009 in Shafeeg's case on the applicability of rights of survivorship to real property held by Muslims as joint-tenants

Organised by the Muslim Financial Planning Association (MFPA), the Conference sought to:

  • Address industry and legal concerns on apparent conflict of laws (Syariah vs. Secular)
  • Clarify the rights of Muslim insurance policyholders to make revocable nominations
  • Identify estate planning tools for Muslims
  • Update on issues relating to joint-tenancies and CPF nominations
MFPA Conference - Picture 1  MFPA Conference - Picture 2  MFPA Conference - Picture 3

"The ambiguity as to whether or not Muslim policyholders are able to do revocable nomination unconditionally under the new Insurance Act provisions is due to the consequential amendment made to Section 111, AMLA. As I understand it, what it has done is to impose on revocable nomination the same restrictions that bind a Muslim when he writes a will. For insurers, it is unsettling that we may not obtain a full discharge when payment is made to a nominee if it is found to be against Section 111, AMLA.
 
Ang Kim Lan from Goodwins Law Corporation commented that even though Section 61 of the Insurance Act appears to give a full discharge to the insurer if payment is made to the nominee, Section 111(2) of the AMLA implies otherwise. She further pointed out that Section 111(1) also implies that any provision in any written law (which would include Insurance Act) must be read subject to Section 111.
 
I hope the concerns will be resolved by the relevant authorities as soon as possible." - Jessie Wong, Manager - Life Insurance, NTUC Income

International Distribution and Sales Conference 2010
5 & 6 August 2010 at Resorts World Sentosa, Singapore
Supported by LIA

Post-financial crisis, the financial services industry faces increasingly intense competition, tighter regulatory supervision and a wary public. The inaugural conference focused on what financial services corporations should do to overcome the challenges of a shifting competitive landscape.

The emphasis was on execution, in particular the discipline of getting things done once the strategy has been decided. The complexity of an effective distribution system should not be underestimated because its many disparate, dynamic components include human beings.

The conference speakers were chosen for their depth of experience. Jared King spoke on best practices in selecting sales professionals and the 7 characteristics of top performers. Blair Turnbull made a convincing case for the ability of life insurance companies to win the wealth management race. Bill Johnston shared on how to build a customer-centric high performance sales model.

Koh Kok Seng believes sales performance management should rely more on behavioural studies, neuroscience and psychology to enhance performance. Roger Collantees gave a rousing motivational spiel on Selling in Turbulent Times: How to Turn Your Sales team from Whiners to Winners.

More than half of the 100-plus delegates were from the Middle East, China, Hong Kong and Southeast Asia.

Int'l Dist'n & Sales Conference - Picture 1  Int'l Dist'n & Sales Conference - Picture 2  Int'l Dist'n & Sales Conference - Picture 3

"I learnt a lot, very enriching. The speakers were generous in sharing and I feel many concepts are implementable.

I liked Building a customer-centric high performance sales model presented by Bill Johnston of HSBC Bank. He stressed the importance of Fair Dealing in frameworks and concepts. The Crucial conversations - Tools for talking when stakes are high by Richard Goh of True North Leadership Asia focused on mastering crucial conversation and improving everything - quality and relationship, productivity and results, employee engagement, team morale, leadership, customer and talent retention. It made me reflect on approaches to adopt when encountering problems at work and even at home.

The motivational segments lifted our morale and spirit. I thought Roger Collantees from Thrivers Club brought the conference to a new height when he successfully engaged the audience whilst delivering Selling in turbulent times.

Not least, I enjoyed the one-on-one interaction with fellow delegates." - Helen Choo, Vice President (Sales Quality and Audit) - Life Distribution Management, HSBC Insurance 

Industry News

Financial District Security Programme
 
The Financial District Security Programme (FDSP) is a public-private partnership initiative of the Singapore Police Force (SPF) and the MAS to promote and enhance the physical security, crime prevention and contingency response within Singapore's financial district.

The SPF, SCDF, MAS and key financial institutions are working on areas of collaboration against crime and terrorism such as knowledge and expertise sharing, contingency preparedness and business continuity management.

The initial step is for associations ABS, LIA, SAS, etc to establish channels of communication with their respective members. Initial information to be shared will be business community alerts by SPF on crime prevention, security measures for major events. In the near future, information on enhancing security, crime prevention and contingency response will be cascaded to associations and financial institutions.

SPF will send the alerts to LIA for dissemination to all members.

Singapore Financial District

Commercial Affairs Department Annual Report 2010
 
CAD's current focus is on the constantly evolving threats to Singapore's financial and commercial sectors. In fighting white-collar crime today, the Department has to be inventive, sophisticated in its methods and collaborative with fellow crime-fighting agencies and industry partners.
 
The Annual Report provides insights into the work of the CAD in 2009/2010 and some of the cases it has solved are included; available at http://www.cad.gov.sg/cad/nr/ar2010
 
TMLS New BuildingTokio Marine Life Insurance Singapore Limited

From 13 September 2010, TM Asia Life Singapore Ltd is known as Tokio Marine Life Insurance Singapore Ltd (TMLS). Its office is relocated to 20 McCallum Street #07-01, Tokio Marine Centre, Singapore 069046. Website: www.tokiomarine-life.sg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LIA Guidelines on Benefit Illustrations

The revised guidelines are in the last stages of finalisation, with 1 April 2011 to be the implementation date, subject to re-confirmation.

LIA Members' Undertaking No. 54 of 2010
- Minimum Service Standards and Guidelines for Flu Pandemic (31 August 2010)

Guidance is provided on essential services to be maintained under Home Quarantine Orders (HQO) during a flu pandemic. 

Flu Image

Minimum service standards and recommended guidelines are set out for LIA members in the event of a flu pandemic. The service standards and guidelines focus on the more severe levels of RED/BLACK alerts as defined by the Ministry of Health's Disease Outbreak Response System (DORSCON-Flu Alert Levels).

Taxation of participating policyholders' bonuses
- Appeal for bonuses to be tax exempt

 
LIA's appeal dated 2 September 10 submitted to Ministry of Finance is pending a response.

IRAS Taxpayer Feedback Panel
 
The TFP is a forum initiated by the Inland Revenue Authority in 1999 to be a structured communication channel to receive feedback on IRAS' systems, policies and services. This helps the tax authority to provide better services to taxpayers and keep the tax system effective and relevant.

Topics discussed by TFP include:

  • IRAS e-services, e.g. e-filing of income tax
  • Taxpayer education and compliance
  • Public consultations on tax policies
  • Annual Budget announcements

Khoo Kah Siang was appointed to the IRAS Taxpayer Feedback Panel in September 2010, representing the LIA for a two-year term.

Q&A with David Beynon

David Beynon - Picture 1David Beynon, Chief Executive of Tokio Marine Life Insurance Singapore Ltd., did a number of 'odd' jobs before starting his career in insurance. To pay the bills, he was a drama teacher for 2 years and was a part-time rubbish collector during the summer holidays.

In 1973, David became an insurance agent after his friend recommended the job to him. Still, it wasn't a profession that was ranked on his list of top ten jobs. "During the first 6 months as an insurance agent, I used to tell people I was a financial or pension planner - anything but an insurance agent." 

However, his attitude turned around after he handed over his first cheque for a death claim to a widow whose husband died in an unfortunate car accident. "The cheque was a lifeline for the widow. It proved how much her late husband really loved her. Through that incident, I discovered how important my job was and from then on, I started telling people that I was a life insurance agent."

Today, David's insurance career has spanned nearly four decades. The 60-year-old now sits at the helm of Tokio Marine Life Insurance Singapore Ltd. where he is committed to raising the company's market share to 5 per cent in the next 4 years. He also aims to train new agents on the fact-finding process and ensure that they are selling products based on clients' needs and means.  
 
Outside of work, David is a true family man who enjoys spending time with wife, Nikki, a homemaker whom he is married to for 39 years. His two daughters, Hannah & Charlotte and 4 grandchildren, George, William, Isabel and Juliet live in New Zealand.

David Beynon - Picture 2  David Beynon - Picture 3

We caught up with David to find out more about his life beyond work:

Q: What in particular, for better or for worse, surprises you about Singapore?

Singapore is unfairly known in the West as a boring city but I think Singapore is vibrant with plenty of things to do. There are fantastic restaurants and a great nightlife scene. The only thing you can't do here is to interfere with someone else's freedom, and that's the way it should be. It makes Singapore a relaxing and safe place. I also have deep admiration for Singaporeans' attitude to achieve better. 

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

I enjoy cooking and can whip up a good French or Italian meal. My wife and I usually find ourselves chatting away on our balcony after dinner. We've been married for 39 years - the conversations we have definitely keep the marriage going. 

I play the flamenco guitar and golf when time permits.  

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

I can perform magic tricks. I recently performed in Macau where we had a conference for top agents. My magic tricks are also very popular with my grand children.

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

Raising two fantastic daughters who have the same values as me. My parents did their best to provide me with everything they could and I have done the same for my two daughters. I hope they will continue this 'family tradition' and support their children in every aspect.   

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

It just keeps getting better. There are 12 leadership qualities I live by - one of which is to be a life student, to learn something new every day.

Q&A with Walter de Oude

Walter de Oude - Picture 1The 2008 global financial crisis that wrecked havoc on the world economy was a turbulent time for many insurers. But against all odds, HSBC Insurance (Singapore), managed to achieve strong growth over the last two years. And standing at the helm of this exciting and growing company is Walter de Oude.

Walter started his career as an actuary with Swiss Re in 1995 in Johannesburg, South Africa and moved to Asia in 2000 when the opportunity arose. Prior to joining HSBC, he has also worked as a Consultant Actuary in Singapore focusing on life insurance, including mergers, acquisitions and distribution management. Today, the South African native has spent a total of 10 years in Asia, including Japan, India and Singapore.

Although an actuarial by training, Walter's true passion lies in building business which his current role allows. Asked about his new appointment as CEO of HSBC Insurance (Singapore) which took place in June this year, he is clearly thrilled.

"Becoming CEO of HSBC Insurance is definitely the most defining moment in my career. This is a more hands-on role which allows me to develop strategies that can make a real change to the company. HSBC is one of the most engaged organisations I have ever worked with. We have a fantastic team and we approach each day as a new and exciting challenge."

Walter de Oude - Picture 2

Outside of work, Walter enjoys spending time with his wife, Cindy whom he is married to for 10 years, and his two boys, Luke and James.

We caught up with Walter to find out more about his thoughts on Singapore and about his life beyond work:

Q: Having been in Singapore for more than 5 years now, can you tell us what about Singapore that you like or dislike?

The weather can be really hot in Singapore. I miss having four seasons in a year. But other than that, Singapore is the perfect place to raise a family because of its safety and security. Everything seems to work like clockwork. We are now Singapore PRs and plan to make this our home.

Q: What do you do for leisure?

I hang out with my family and really enjoy taking my two young children to play rugby on Sunday mornings. I enjoy playing golf too when time permits.

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

I speak conversational Japanese - a language I picked up while working in Japan. I've also attempted skiing in the Himalayas when I was working in India. I wouldn't recommend it if you're a really bad skier like me!

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

Marrying my wife, the birth of my children and my current role as CEO at HSBC Insurance (Singapore).
 
Q: Complete the sentence: I love life because....
 
Everyday is different from the one before. Life is filled with excitement, energy and news things to do.

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