Issue No. 11 July - September 2012
Message from the PresidentIndustry Events
Industry NewsQ&A with Graham Morrall

Message from the President

Photo of LIA President

Protection gap of Singaporeans has narrowed

Results of LIA 2011 Protection Gap Study

The 2011 Study, commissioned to global consulting firm Towers Watson, updates a protection gap study carried out in 2006.

Key findings

  • A working adult has an average protection need of S$626,000, which translates to approximately 10 times of his or her annual salary
  • The total life insurance coverage owned by a working adult amounts to S$319,500, which is equivalent to about 5 times of annual salary
  • The average protection gap of a working adult is S$242,500 or 3.7 times of annual income, after taking into account CPF savings

The protection gap in Singapore has reduced considerably over the last five years. The average protection gap of a working adult has halved, from 7.6 times of his or her annual income in 2006 to 3.7 times in 2011.
 
Encouraged that the gap between Singaporeans' protection needs and their existing level of coverage has shrunk, we are all the more determined to assist Singaporeans to close their protection gap. The LIA and its members are committed to serving these needs.

Life insurance business grows by 11 per cent in first half of 2012

Regular premium sales continue to see healthy growth
 
The industry drew in $1,045.7 million of weighted* new business premiums for the first half of 2012, representing an 11 per cent improvement over the corresponding period in 2011.

The overall performance was driven by the continuing growth of regular premium products. Weighted regular premium sales reached $752.2 million, a 21 per cent growth over the same period last year.

The global economic environment was challenging in the first half of the year and so it is comforting to note the overall growth and the strong performance of regular premium products. While we expect the global economy will remain difficult, we believe Singaporeans will continue to see merit in long-term protection and savings plans during uncertain times.

Single premium business, on the other hand, dipped 9 per cent to register $293.5 million. Of this amount, 14 per cent comprised CPF-funded sales.

(*Weighted premium is calculated as: 10% SPI + 100% API with adjustment for payment terms of less than 10 years)

Fact-find experience

In the second quarter of this year, 89 per cent of life insurance applications were completed with a full or partial fact-find, an improvement of 3 per cent over the preceding quarter.  

We have experienced sustained quarter-on-quarter increases for more than a year, with this quarter achieving the highest rate in the last five years. This uptrend demonstrates that the combined efforts undertaken by industry and representatives in engaging customers are yielding results. More consumers see the value of 'Knowing the Client' as helping them to make informed decisions.

Signature of LIA President

Tan Hak Leh

Protection Gap Study - Slide1

Protection Gap Study - Slide 2

For the Report of the LIA 2011 Protection Gap Study, go to: http://www.lia.org.sg/news/protection_gap_study

Industry Events

Launch of AXA Life's MDRT Club
2 August 2012, Triple One Somerset

AXA Life's MDRT Club - Photo1 AXA Life's MDRT Club - Photo2

AXA Life launched its inaugural MDRT Club meeting on 2 August at Triple One Somerset. This event was attended by over 80 MDRT qualifiers and MDRT aspirants.

The MDRT Club serves as a success-building platform by providing support and initiatives for MDRT qualifiers and MDRT aspirants to come together for sharing and learning.

The event was opened by K Venka, Country Chair for MDRT Singapore. He shared how his continued MDRT achievements have enabled him to maintain peak performance in his financial planning career.

AXA Life's MDRT Club - Photo3 (Tony Yoovidhya) AXA Life's MDRT Club - Photo4
AXA Life's MDRT Club - Photo5 AXA Life's MDRT Club - Photo6

The main speaker was Tony Yoovidhya, an amazingly talented financial adviser from Thailand. The first part of his speech on "Why you should be an MDRT qualifier" was given a standing ovation and left the crowd wanting more. Armed with over 13 years in the financial industry, and as a Lifetime MDRT Member, in the second part of his speech, Tony spoke on "How to break into the High Net Worth market" .

Although English is not Tony's native language, he carried himself spectacularly. He shared tips on how exceptional financial planners place themselves a cut above the rest - by doing holistic financial planning. Besides risk management and investment, a great financial planner also takes good care of the client's cash flow management and the amount set aside for emergencies.

The MDRT Club heralds the beginning of more initiatives to build an MDRT culture in AXA Life.

LIA Seminar on International Regulatory Developments
21 August 2012, M Hotel

LIA President Audience - Photo1
First Speaker - Stafford Neil Second Speaker - Hamish Worsley
Third Speaker - Ivan Martin Fourth Speaker - Scott Douglas

More than 100 participants from member companies and guests attended this half-day seminar organised by the LIA.

  • Stafford Neil, Senior Manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers, spoke on "Financial Advisory Industry: The Future is not what it used to be"
  • Hamish Worsley, Partner at NMG Consulting, spoke on "Advice Evolution in the UK and Lessons for Singapore"
  • Ivan Martin, Executive Chairman of Sesame Bankhall, spoke on "Retail Distribution Review: The Experience for UK Practitioners"
  • Scott Douglas, Principal of Identity Wealth Advisers, spoke on "Australian Future of Financial Advice: A Practitioner's View Point"
Emcee - Bill Johnston Panel Discussion
Audience - Photo1 Audience - Photo2

'Questions and Answers' proved to be a lively session, energetically moderated by Bill Johnston, with one hard to forget question posed: "What is the one thing you would tell the Singapore regulator?"
 
Personal Data Protection Bill 2012
"Implementing Data Protection Policies", a seminar conducted by Rajah & Tann for LIA
20 September 2012, Straits Trading Building

Rajah & Tann LLP Seminar - Photo1 Rajah & Tann LLP Seminar - Photo2

The Personal Data Protection (PDP) Bill was presented and read in Parliament on 10 September 2012, and will be followed by 2nd and 3rd readings in October. The Bill can be downloaded from www.parliament.gov.sg

Some 50 management staff of LIA member companies attended a complimentary seminar conducted by Rajah & Tann LLP on this upcoming legislation. 
 
Steven Tan, Technology Law Partner, gave an overview of the framework, explained the definition of personal data and how such data should be cared for under the DP law. He also covered the compliance aspects, which organisations including insurance companies should be aware of. The proposed Do-Not-Call (DNC) Registry allows individuals to opt-out of receiving marketing messages by registering their Singapore phone numbers.
 
It is understood that a Data Protection Commission (DPC) will be set up to oversee the implementation of the DP law. It will have powers to issue guidelines, initiate investigations and impose financial penalties of up to $1 million for non-compliance.

Insurance Leaders Talk Series
Sharing Session by Tidjane Thiam
21 September 2012, MAS Theatrette

Tidjane Thiam
Insurance Leader - Mr Tidjane Thiam
Tidjane Thiam (born 1962, Ivory Coast) joined Prudential in 2008 as Chief Financial Officer, a position he held until 30 September 2009, when he was appointed Group Chief Executive.
 
Prior to joining Prudential, Tidjane was Group Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, Europe at Aviva where he held successively the positions of Group Strategy and Development Director and Managing Director, Aviva International.
 
Tidjane spent the first part of his career with McKinsey & Company in Paris and New York, serving insurance companies and banks. He then spent a number of years in Africa where he was Chief Executive and later Chairman of the National Bureau for Technical Studies and Development in Cote d'Ivoire and a government cabinet member as Secretary of Planning and Development. In 1999, Tidjane returned to France to become a partner with McKinsey & Company.
 
Tidjane holds engineering degrees from Ecole Polytechnique in Paris and Ecole Nationale Superieure des Mines de Paris, and an MBA from INSEAD. He was awarded the Legion d'Honneur by the French government in 2011.
 
Insurance Leaders Talk - Photo1 Insurance Leaders Talk - Photo2

"Perspective of Life Insurance"

Mr Thiam spoke on

  • The drivers motivating him to choose to work in the life insurance industry
  • Why life insurance matters
  • What he believes is driving success in the industry
  • The opportunities of life insurance industry in South-East Asia

Always on the lookout for the best people to join the company, he would size up candidates on four qualities: Insight, Engagement (EQ), Courage and Curiosity ("Why's"). Tidjane noted that Singapore's life insurance penetration rate has actually fallen.

Insurance Leaders Talk (ILT) Series

Objective of ILT

This initiative seeks to provide a platform for top leaders in the insurance and reinsurance industries to inspire Singapore's young talents concerning their profession, as well as share their views on global developments in insurance.

Target audience

  • Undergraduates, particularly those pursuing risk management, insurance and actuarial studies
  • Post-graduate students in NUS, NTU and SMU
  • Teaching staff in universities
  • Interns and alumni of industry training schemes
  • Young professionals in the industry

Speakers

Senior persons travelling to Singapore, and would include:

  • Senior management of corporations
  • Technical specialists
  • Senior management of international regulatory bodies, industry associations or think-tanks

Stakeholders (as of now)

  • MAS Financial Centre Development Department
  • Industry associations: GIA, LIA, SAS, SRA
  • Singapore College of Insurance
  • Universities: NUS, NTU, SMU

LIA Networking Evening
26 September 2012, Molly Malone's Irish Pub

LIA Networking Session (26Sep12) - Photo1 LIA Networking Session (26Sep12) - Photo2
LIA Networking Session (26Sep12) - Photo3 LIA Networking Session (26Sep12) - Photo4
LIA Networking Session (26Sep12) - Photo5 LIA Networking Session (26Sep12) - Photo6

Financial Planning Day 2012
28 September 2012, NTUC Centre Auditorium

Financial Planning Day 2012 - Photo1 Financial Planning Day 2012 - Photo2
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Financial Planning Day 2012 - Photo9

The 3rd Financial Planning Day opened with the theme Present Practitioner, Future Excellence and saw financial practitioners who came with a common purpose of enhancing their knowledge to be better managers.

In her opening address, Ms Kimmis Pun, President of Financial Planning Association of Singapore (FPAS), spoke on change as the only constant in our fast-moving world and how everyone should embrace changes to stay competent and relevant through new knowledge and information.

Guest-of-honour, Ms Penny Low, MP for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC, inspired financial practitioners to work for a living but live for a cause. She urged planners to see a higher social purpose in their jobs - helping people to survive with financial security and dignity - to build a better world.

Paul Pong, Chairman of Institute of Financial Planners of Hong Kong and Founder and Managing Director of Pegasus Fund Managers Ltd, believed practitioners need to see themselves as motivational leaders in adversity, leading people to change and make changes through people.

In his animated delivery of Life: Work it Backward, Pay it Forward, Dr Andrew Goh, a leading training consultant, elaborated on how besides helping clients see the importance of planning for their future by investing in today, financial advisers also needed to plan for their own future and not let the routine of life get them down.

Christian Chua, Founder of Christian Chua Academy, shared tips on Making a Fortune while Sipping Coffee. In order to work less and earn more, one needs to take time-out to (1) strategise, (2) gain new knowledge, and (3) build relationship to achieve greater success.

Industry News

Launch of MoneySENSE - Singapore Polytechnic Institute for Financial Literacy
16 July 2012, Singapore Polytechnic

Financial Literacy Launch - Photo1 Financial Literacy Launch - Photo2
Financial Literacy Launch - Photo3 Financial Literacy Launch - Photo4
Financial Literacy Launch - Photo5 Financial Literacy Launch - Photo6

This is an exclusive feature brought to you by Lifewire.

Towards a Financially Savvy Singapore
MoneySENSE and Singapore Polytechnic launched Institute for Financial Literacy

It has only been about three months since the launch of the MoneySENSE-Singapore Polytechnic Institute for Financial Literacy (Institute) - a collaboration between MoneySENSE and Singapore Polytechnic - but more than 60 organisations have expressed interest to equip their employees with the knowledge and skills that will help them make appropriate financial decisions.

The Institute, officially launched on 16 July 2012 by Guest-of-Honour Mr Lee Chuan Teck, Chairman of the MoneySENSE Financial Education Steering Committee and Assistant Managing Director of Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), represents a significant development in the MoneySENSE national financial education agenda.  It aims to build core financial capabilities across a broad spectrum of the Singapore population in a regular and structured manner.

Leading the dedicated team to deliver financial education to the public is the Institute's Director, Dr Alex Lum. In his role, he is responsible for overseeing the set-up of the Institute as well as the development, delivery, marketing and research of its programmes.

In an exclusive interview with Lifewire, Dr Alex Lum told us that the Institute has seen a positive response for its workshops and talks as the number of signups continue to grow.  He shares more information on the Institute.

Q: Who's the target audience and how does the Institute reach out to these people?

Our existing programmes are targeted at working adults but we are looking to reach out to other segments of the population in the near future. As a start, the Institute is engaging its target audience through organisations, offering lunch-time talks and workshops on topics such as basic money management, debt management, managing for future needs including insurance and retirement needs and how to select financial products that best fit their needs and circumstances.

Q: What can participants expect to learn/achieve from the programmes?

Participants who attend our programmes will acquire some basic understanding of the five core financial capabilities that can help them work towards managing cash flow, buying a home within their means, providing for their healthcare needs and having sufficient income for life. It is important for consumers to understand that developing these capabilities cannot be achieved overnight; it is in fact a life-long process as everyone has different financial situations and circumstances. However, the programme is a stepping stone for consumers to build a foundation and get started.

Q: You talked about the core financial capabilities, how did the Institute determine this?

The capablities are set out in the MoneySENSE Core Financial Capabilities Framework, which was developed by the Financial Education Steering Committee (FESC)*.  These capabilities build on and complement MoneySENSE's three tiers of financial literacy content - basic money management, financial planning and investment know-how - and will help Singaporeans deal with common financial concerns that arise at different stages of their lives.

Core Financial Capabilities Framework

i. Understanding money
Consumers understand how numeracy skills can help them evaluate costs and benefits of a financial decision.

ii. Understanding yourself, your rights and responsibilities
This helps consumers understand how their financial situation and personal circumstances such as income and savings, number of dependants might impact financial decisions. It will also help them understand their rights as well as responsibilities.

iii. Managing money to live within one's means
It's very important to get the basics right such as budgeting, managing debt prudently and assessing affordability whenever a financial decision is made

iv. Planning ahead
This helps consumers identify their needs and goals and take steps to develop a financial plan for themselves.

v. Selecting financial products
Consumers learn about understanding their financial needs and goals as well as the purpose, features, risks and costs of financial products and questions to ask before making a decision.

Q: Who are the trainers/speakers?

The trainers are full-time staff of the Institute. However, if the Institute organises events such as seminars in future, we will tap on the various industry associations for speakers depending on their expertise on the subject.

Q: What are some of the topics offered to consumers now?

The current topics offered by the Institute help to build the foundation for consumers in terms of basic money management, financial planning, debt management, insurance and retirement planning, and investment planning, and can take the form of either talks or workshops. The talks are short and are an introduction to the topics. The workshops go further and build on the talks such that participants learn how to develop and apply financial capabilities using a hands-on and interactive approach. Subsequent topics will provide more in-depth knowledge on the existing topics.

Q: How are you assessing the programmes?

It is important for us to find out how well our programmes are in helping consumers build their core financial capabilities so that we can continue to enhance the content. To start with, we will collect feedback from participants and these could take the form of simple quizzes to assess if participants are able to apply the knowledge and skills they have learnt.

*The FESC provides strategic direction and oversees financial education programmes in Singapore. It comprises representatives from the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Manpower, Central Provident Fund Board, Monetary Authority of Singapore, National Library Board and People's Association.

Towards a Financially Literate Nation

Speech by Lee Chuan Teck, Chairman, Financial Education Steering Committee and Assistant Managing Director, Monetary Authority of Singapore, at the launch of the MoneySENSE - Singapore Polytechnic Institute for Financial Literacy

Introduction

1   Mr Lee Peng Hun, (Deputy Principal of Singapore Polytechnic), Dr Alex Lum (Director of the MoneySENSE - Singapore Polytechnic Institute for Financial Literacy), fellow members of Financial Education Steering Committee (FESC), ladies and gentlemen. It gives me great pleasure to be here at the launch of the Institute for Financial Literacy. This marks another milestone in our journey towards a financially literate nation.

2   What characterizes a financially literate nation? The FESC envisions a state where every adult in Singapore is equipped with the knowledge and skills to be able to perform four fundamental financial tasks in a prudent way:

  • How to manage your cash flow and live within your means;
  • How to plan ahead for sufficient income for life;
  • How to buy a home that you can afford; and
  • How to be financially prepared should unforeseen events like accidents and illnesses occur.

3   The goal is lofty but well worth pursuing for three reasons. First, having sound financial health, just like having good physical health, is critical to the well-being of the individual and family. Every individual will need to make key decisions on some or all of those 4 tasks sometime in his life. How well he does it will affect his ability to pursue his aspirations and also to withstand setbacks in life. Second, having well-informed consumers will enhance the functioning of the financial sector in general and financial advice industry in particular. Lifting the standards of financial advisers and building the knowledge of consumers are two sides of the same coin. It is important that financial advisers take the time to understand a consumer's needs and financial circumstances before recommending investment products. As consumers, we too have a key role. We understand our own financial situation, preferences and needs best. When we discuss these with our financial advisers, it is important to ask key questions to enable us to better understand the products available and consider how they may or may not meet our needs, before making a decision on which products to take up. Third, having a population that is financially prudent and knowledgeable contributes to the financial resilience of the country. It will help us better ride through global economic turbulence. It will also help rein in excessive household leverage, which was one of the root causes of the financial crisis in the US and parts of Europe.

4   The journey towards this goal is long and challenging. It is challenging because we live in an environment where there is an overabundance of information, constantly bombarded through multiple channels: Traditional media, new media and social media. We need to rise above this cacophony to be heard. It is also challenging because every individual is unique. He has different needs, different levels of knowledge, different circumstances and different aspirations. So we cannot just broadcast a single message to all. We need to customize the messages so that they will resonate with the individual. Finally, it is most challenging because we need to not just provide the individual with the knowledge but also to persuade him to put these into practice. Shaping behaviour takes time. Our message needs to be persuasive enough to stir the individual into action and also persistent enough so that he does not regress.

5   In short, our financial education effort needs to be cogent, targeted and compelling. Money Sense tries to do this through a variety of media channels. Last year, we had a "Mind Your Money" TV programme on Channel 5 and CNA. It was fairly well received with about 1.15 million viewers. This year, we plan to commission another programme on Channel 8 to reach a different set of viewers. We will also have radio initiatives in four languages, and continue with educational articles in the newspapers. Online media is also important. In this regard, we have just revamped the MoneySENSE website to make it easier to read and navigate. Amongst others, the site provides objective information on common financial products and things to watch for before deciding whether to take up a product.

6   But MAS cannot do this alone. Financial education needs to be a national effort. We have a growing list of partners that we leverage on for their reach and expertise. For example, the Ministry of Education (MOE) infuses financial education into the teaching curriculum, and works with us to arrange skits and talks to school going children at all levels. Further, we work with the People's Association and CDCs help bring financial education to lower income consumers. The Central Provident Fund helps to educate its members on retirement planning and the National Library Board hosts financial literacy talks on its premises. Industry associations, consumer and investor associations, tertiary institutions and financial institutions have also pitched in by organizing talks and seminars.

7   Today, I would like to welcome Singapore Polytechnic into this network of partners. The Institute for Financial Literacy (IFLS) is a full-time, dedicated effort in financial education. It will start with a segment of the population that our programme so far, may not have sufficiently reached. This is the middle and lower income working adults segment. We found that this group is typically too busy with their families and their work to attend financial talks. Thus, IFLS will bring the talks to them in the work-place. When it is fully operational, IFLS will be able to conduct 220 lunch-time talks per year, 10 times what we are currently doing. In addition, for participants that are interested we will also organise workshops to help them translate what they heard into practice. All the talks and workshops will be provided free of charge to participants. I wish the Institute every success in their endeavours.

8   Finally, allow me to just leave you with two key messages. First, if you have not already done so, take the time and make the effort to get yourselves financially educated. This will be the best investment you will ever make in your lifetime. Second, join us in our efforts to bring financial education to your employees, your members, your constituents. Together we can make Singapore a financially literate nation. Thank you.

Newest member of the LIA Singapore: Pacific Life Re
17 July 2012

Pacific Life Re Limited, Singapore Branch was admitted as an Associate Member of the LIA on 17 July 2012.
 
Pacific Life Re is a specialist life reinsurer, offering wholesale life risk management products and services.

Pacific Life Re Limited is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Pacific LifeCorp, the parent company of Pacific Life Insurance Company.

PLR is the main carrier for reinsurance business in the UK, Ireland and Asia. It has a Financial Strength Rating from Standard and Poor's of A+ with a stable outlook.

The Singapore branch office has been established since August 2008 and has responsibility for the Asia Pacific region. Currently, a team of 22 experienced staff are based in Singapore.

For more information, visit the PLR website at www.pacificlifere.com

Mr Andrew Linfoot

Andrew Linfoot, Principal Officer and Director, Asia, commented, "Pacific Life Re is very pleased to be accepted as a member of LIA. The LIA is an important industry body with an influential role in the development of the financial landscape in Singapore. A large number of consultation papers are emanating from MAS at the moment and we're looking forward to contributing to the dialogue and helping keep Singapore's role as a leading financial centre in the region."

Lifewire caught up with Andrew to find out more about his leadership role as Principal Officer and Director, Asia of Pacific Life Re Ltd, Singapore Branch

Q: Tell us more about your current role.

Being able to lead a team of highly qualified and motivated individuals is one of the most rewarding pursuits. We cover a wide geographic region - including another office in Japan - and have customers across several countries. While the challenge of operating across a range of cultures and regulatory environments can be frustrating at times, it is also rewarding. And...there's nothing like working in a team with your customers to deliver a brand new innovation in the market.

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

I am passionate for this business and I am incredibly proud of the relationships that my team has built amongst themselves as well as with our clients. I strongly believe in a high quality approach to our business, whether it is our service proposition, research, terms and conditions or professionalism. As a leader, I often encourage multidisciplinary collaboration, openness among colleagues and a customer centric outlook. To me, work-life balance is just as important as it is to achieve goals. I believe that everyone should have time to relax and recharge through recreation and spend time with their friends and family.

Q: What drives/motivates you?

  1. Providing safety and security for my family - this is of great importance for me.
  2. To be able to help provide that element of safety and security for my colleagues as well as for our customers and their customers - To me, this is a huge honour.

Manulife Financial Corporation's Board of Directors visit Singapore office for the first time
3 September 2012
 
Asia has been a strong growth region for Manulife Financial. Five years ago, Asia accounted for 20 per cent of the Company's global insurance sales. In 2012, that proportion has already increased to half. As part of the Asia tour, on 3 September, seven Manulife Financial Corporation's Board of Directors paid a visit to Singapore, a first in Manulife Singapore's history. Two members from the Board, Mr John Palmer and Mr Tsun-yan Hsieh are based in Singapore.

Manulife - Photo1
Manulife Financial Corporation's Board of Directors with Mr Robert A. Cook, Senior Executive Vice President & General Manager, Asia, (front row, fourth from left) Mr Philip Hampden-Smith, Executive Vice President and General Manager of South East Asia Operations, (back row, sixth from left) Ms Annette King, President & CEO of Manulife Singapore (back row, sixth from right), Ms Jill Smith, Senior Managing Director, MAMS (back row, first from right) and Manulife Singapore's Senior Leadership Team.

As the agency force accounts for 68% of Manulife Singapore's total new business in H1 2012, the Board of Directors had a lunch meeting with selected Directors, Managers and Financial Planners. Manulife sets itself apart by putting customers first and delivering real value to them. This customer-centric philosophy received affirmation in the 2011 Customer Satisfaction Index of Singapore conducted by Singapore Management University where Manulife Financial Planners were voted to be the most trusted financial planners. In addition, clients were most satisfied with the sales experience they had with their Manulife Financial Planner.

Manulife - Photo2
Selected Manulife Singapore Agency Directors, Unit Managers and Financial Planners had a lunch meeting with the Board of Directors.

Manulife Singapore first embarked on an extensive branding campaign in October 2010. As of June 2012, our brand awareness has surged to 71%* from 28% in September 2010.

Manulife - Photo3
L-R Mr Robert A. Cook, Senior Executive Vice President & General Manager, Asia and Board of Directors, Mr Robert J. Harding and Mr Joseph P. Caron posing with the Manulife Taxis.

*According to a survey done by TNS

As part of Manulife Singapore's journey to be the Number 1 in Client Experience by 2016, we moved to the heart of Singapore in Bras Basah Road to serve our clients better.

Manulife - Photo4
Board of Directors at the Client Service Centre located on the ground floor of the Manulife Centre.

Personal Data Protection Bill 2012

Bill No. 24/2012 dated 10 September 2012 has been issued for 1st reading in Parliament. A copy can be downloaded from www.parliament.gov.sg 

Launch of retirement insurance plan to meet changing socio-economic needs
11 September 2012, Tokio Marine Centre

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Mr Lance Tay, CEO of Tokio Marine Life Insurance Singapore Limited (TMLS) highlighted the need for the company to stay focused and remain relevant, as more is to be done to meet Singapore's changing socio-economic needs.

"Singapore is facing the issue of an aging population. With higher standards of living and better health care, we are also seeing longer life expectancy. The Government has done their part in planning for its people's retirement when CPF was implemented 47 years ago but this is not sufficient. Planning for retirement is a lifelong process and we are concerned that many Singaporeans are not prepared financially for retirement."

New retirement plan with guaranteed lifetime retirement income

About half of Singaporeans aged 65 today are expected to live beyond 85, and a third are expected to live beyond 90. Some current life insurance plans available in the market with promised payouts of between 10 and 20 years from the stipulated payout age may not be sufficient to ensure extended retirement financial security.

TMLS has launched its new TM Retirement Life with guaranteed lifetime retirement income. This first-of-its-kind retirement plan ensures guaranteed cash benefit from selected payout age and will be payable yearly for as long as the life assured is alive. The plan also offers the option of a joint-life basis, which provides the guaranteed cash benefits up till the lifetime of the last surviving spouse.

Changing mindsets

Based on the LIA report released last month, the absolute amount required to meet financial protection need would be 10 times the individual's salary. However, the average protection amount of working adults in Singapore is only about five times their annual salary.

Ms Michelle Teo, 56, a TMLS financial adviser said, "The relatively low insurance coverage is due in part to inadequate levels of financial literacy among Singaporeans. People may not realise the importance of having adequate insurance coverage, or may not know how to do proper financial planning for their insurance and retirement needs. It could also be due to complacency or a general lack of awareness of how much coverage would be considered adequate."

To encourage the younger consumers to plan ahead, Mr Tay said that TMLS has gone to great extend to ensure that their latest brand campaign conveys an upbeat and positive message. "One of the reasons why people shun away from this topic is because it is looked upon as a sombre affair and to some of the older people, it might even be an inauspicious topic to touch on. It is time that our consumers understand that insurance is about giving the people we love the financial security they deserve as well as for having a plan to have dreams come true, whether an overseas tertiary education, a new business start-up or a dream wedding."

Lance said, "My greatest wish is to witness a change in the psyche of consumers, to one day see that life insurance becomes a product that is bought, not sold."

Upping the standards of financial advisers

To help the industry address the protection gap, TMLS believes that the financial advisers play an important role. "It is my personal penchant to help develop the financial advisers, be they from the banks, independent financial advisers or our own agency. I believe that it is a virtuous cycle - with the right motivation and products, these financial advisers will serve the people with their heart. Eventually, I hope to inspire more good people to join the insurance industry," added Lance.

Visitor to LIA Singapore

22 August 2012
Ms Tsai Tzy-Fang
Officer, Bureau of Labor Insurance, Labor Pension Department, Taiwan

Officer from Taiwan Bureau of Labor Insurance

Tzy-Fang was in Singapore to learn more about Singapore's Central Provident Fund, and in particular the CPF Investment Scheme.

Q&A with Graham Morrall

Graham Morrall - Photo1

"All of us are unique in our own ways as we have different strengths and abilities. There is no one person that is better than anyone else."

This is the personal philosophy of Graham Morrall, Chief Executive Officer of Zurich Life Insurance (Singapore) Pte.Ltd. As a leader, he believes that every member in the team has something to offer, and deserves to be respected and given ample opportunities to excel.

"Seeing people achieve their goals is what drives me," Graham says. It is not surprising to know that this hardworking, people-oriented leader values his employees and puts them before himself.  On his leadership, he says that he believes that leaders must 'walk the talk' to gain respect from their employees. "A pleasant working environment is important too, as employees spend a huge amount of time at work! I want them to be happy and enjoy coming to work!"

As CEO, Graham has a simple vision in place - to build Zurich up to be the best life insurance company in Singapore as perceived by their customers, distributors and employees.

Graham graduated from Middlesex University Business School in London with a Degree in European Business Administration, and he also holds a Diploma in European Business Administration from ESC Reims Management School in France. 

Graham Morrall - Photo2Since joining Zurich in 1988, Graham has held several regional positions that span general management, sales, business development and marketing across retail and corporate life, pensions and investment businesses in the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, United Arab Emirates and Singapore.

On his career at Zurich, Graham was notably enthused to have been appointed as CEO Global Life Singapore.  "At Zurich, we believe in our internal pool of talent and I am privileged to be selected by the company to take on such a significant role to grow our business here."  He also told Lifewire about his experience of handing a cheque to a bereaved widow as part of an insurance payout, "It's a relatively common sight in our industry due to its nature, but seeing how insurance helps consumers in times like these - it's a very humbling experience."

An advocate for work-life balance, the loving father of three tries his very best to spend time with his family despite the immense amount of work.  We caught up with Graham recently to unravel some interesting personal facts.

Q: The good and bad about Singapore (Only the good for me!)

Back in 2002, I used to visit Singapore quite often to examine the feasibility of growing Zurich's international corporate life and pensions business here in Asia.  Upon coming back last year, what surprised me the most was the rapid development that had taken place in Marina Bay vicinity! From my office desk, I now am able to see an amazing skyline!

Contrary to popular belief, I'm also really enjoying the weather in Singapore - an average of 34oC is pretty cool! (Well... if you compare this to the summers in Dubai where the temperatures reach 48oC! It's definitely a pleasant relief for me and my family!)

Q: What do you do during your leisure time?

I love playing golf, travelling and catching rugby games! A combination of the three would be ideal.

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

  1. The birth of my three lovely children and always being there to celebrate their achievements.
  2. Leading the Zurich team here in Singapore to successfully build and launch a fully functioning life insurance company within a year.

Q: What's your secret to winding down after a hard day's work?

While many feel that a vigorous workout at the gym or the pool may do the trick, it is quite simple for me - a soft armchair and three children who would be crawling all over me and wanting my attention. What more can I ask for! Smile

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

It is what I know!

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