Issue No. 31 July - September 2017
Message from the PresidentIndustry Events
Industry NewsQ&A with Andy Sumner

Message from the President

LIA President - Mr Patrick Teow

In first half of 2017, Singapore life insurance industry sustains momentum of healthy growth

Our industry continues on a momentum of strong growth from the first quarter, having achieved a total of S$1,682.0 million in weighted new business premiums[1] for the first half of 2017. Accordingly, the industry recorded a significant 10 per cent increase in sum assured for new business compared to the corresponding period in 2016, totalling S$55.9 billion. This is a positive development in the context of economic uncertainties, an ageing population and a soft labour market[2].

There was an increase in uptake across both single and annual premium products.

Compared to the same period in 2016, the industry recorded:

a) a 10 per cent increase to S$ 547.3 million in weighted single premiums:

  • Single premium par and non-par products comprised 75 per cent, the balance 25 per cent were single premium linked products
  • CPFIS-included products comprised 15 per cent; Cash-funded products took the remaining 85 per cent

b) a 11 per cent increase to S$ 1,134.7 million in weighted annual premiums

Health insurance premiums[3] totalled S$154 million for 1H2017, of which Integrated Shield Plans (IP) premiums and IP riders accounted for 90 per cent (S$139 million). The remaining ten percent (S$15 million) came from other medical plans and riders. As at 30 June 2017, 2.92 million lives (about one in two individuals in Singapore) are insured.

While we tirelessly work towards narrowing Singapore's protection gap, helping Singaporeans to be better prepared for retirement is also a priority.  We see a steady take up of products designed to provide regular payouts from retirement age.  This shows that people are appreciating the importance of preparing ahead for their future years.

Notably, there was an uptake of 10,680 policies designed to provide regular payouts to policyholders during retirement years, with approximately S$84 million of weighted new premiums recorded over the half year. Such plans accounted for approximately five per cent of the total weighted premiums for 1H2017.

Manpower in the industry

As employment in Singapore continues to grow in the finance and industry sector[4], we note an eight per cent increase in the number of employed individuals within the life insurance industry in 1H2017.

6,857 individuals were employed by member companies, up from 6,328 staff in 1H2016. The industry continues to seek talent in all areas, including underwriting and specialised digital technologies.

14,355 representatives held exclusive contracts with companies that operate a tied agency force.

Patrick Teow
President

_______________________

[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]S'pore economy on track  to pick up pace: IMF, The Straits Times, Jul 30, 2017, http://www.straitstimes.com/business/economy/spore-economy-on-track-to-pick-up-pace-imf?login=true

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

[4]Fewer layoffs, unemployment situation improves in Q2: Manpower Ministry (28 July 2017). Channel NewsAsia. Available at: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/fewer-layoffs-unemployment-situation-improves-in-q2-manpower-9072274

Industry Events

13 July 2017

AIA Charity Golf 2017 Logo

AIA Singapore raised $293,000 in support of Diabetic Society of Singapore

Back for the second year running, AIA Charity Golf 2017 was recently held on 13 July 2017 at Sentosa Golf Club, The Serapong - known as the Number one Championship Golf Course in Asia. This year, AIA joins the Government's fight against diabetes by channeling all funds raised at this event to the Diabetic Society of Singapore (DSS).

With the generous support of our business partners and Agency force, AIA Charity Golf 2017 surpassed our fundraising target of $250,000 to raise a whopping $293,000! All funds will be used for diabetes education and prevention for Singaporeans as well as improving the lives of those with diabetes, enabling them to lead Longer, Healthier, Better lives and in turn, live life with confidence. 

Blessed with sunshine and cool breeze, 100 golfers joined us to golf for a good cause that day and had a great time with the numerous novelty challenges on the golf course including the highlight - Beat The Pro, where golfers attempted to beat Timothy Constantine Low, an ex-Pro golfer, as well as the Hole-In-One challenge for a chance to win an Audi A5 Coupe.  

Our heartfelt thanks to all our business partners and agency force for their strong support. We look forward to a bigger and better AIA Charity Golf 2018!

Catch the full event photo album on AIA Singapore Facebook and the video highlights here

AIA Fundraising
Mr Patrick Teow, Chief Executive Officer, AIA Singapore presenting the fundraising cheque of $293,000 to Dr Kalpana Baskaran, Vice-President of Diabetic Society of Singapore (left)

August 2017

1. Manulife Singapore celebrates Love Your Heart Day

On 15 August 2017, Manulife Singapore organised a 'Love Your Heart Day' to encourage our staff to lead heart-healthy lives, and to raise awareness of the importance of heart health. The day's activities included a CPR training workshop by the Singapore Heart Foundation, which saw almost 200 Manulife Singapore staff learning CPR and becoming CPR-ready. 

Manulife Singapore and Singapore Heart Foundation's activities are part of a wider global initiative to promote happy, healthy living, and to complement Manulife's global partnership with the World Heart Federation.

Manulife - Love Your Heart Day

2. Manulife Singapore's Customer Service and Bancassurance Training teams clinch awards 

Manulife Singapore's Contact Centre team have been recognised at this year's Customer Relationship Excellence Awards (CRE Awards), held in Hong Kong. The Contact Centre team were recognised for going above and beyond to ensure they truly made a difference to customers. This is the fourth consecutive year that the Manulife Singapore Customer Service team has won this award.

Manulife Singapore's Bancassurance Training team also won the Asia Training & Development Excellence Awards for two categories - Best Sales Development Programme and Best Use of Technology for Training. The Asia Training & Development Excellence Awards, held on 1 August at the Le Meridien Singapore, Sentosa, are part of the 8th edition of Asia's Best Employer Brand Awards 2017, which recognises best practices in employer branding and outstanding professionals across Asia. 

Manulife Awards - Photo1
Manulife Awards - Photo2
Manulife Awards - Photo3

24 August 2017

Prudential - Infographic

Prudential Health Literacy Poll suggests need for Singaporeans to step up knowledge in health matters

  • Findings point to divergence between what Singaporeans think of their own health and their lifestyles
  • Lack of motivation and time a key barrier to leading healthier lives
  • Prudential offers first-in-market DNA-based health and nutrition programme to encourage healthier living

Singapore, 24 August 2017 - More than 70 per cent of Singaporeans think they are healthy but a large number of them are not eating enough greens and fruits nor getting enough exercise1, according to Prudential Singapore's Health Literacy Poll2. A major reason for this appears to be their generally poor knowledge about health matters. The survey, conducted this month, aims to find out what Singaporeans think about their state of health and whether their actual lifestyle choices mirror their own perceptions.

What it means to eat healthily varies from person to person. While 60 per cent of the people surveyed perceive their diets to be generally healthy, close to half of the total respondents eat less than two servings of vegetables a day, the recommended portion by Singapore's Health Promotion Board3. Of the 501 respondents, about three in five also consume less than the prescribed two servings of fruits a day and almost two-thirds opt for less sugar4 only 'sometimes', 'seldom' or 'never at all'. When it comes to exercise, about four in five of those surveyed do less than the recommended 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week5 and an even higher proportion - 85 per cent - do less than the recommended 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week6.

One of the reasons for less than ideal diet and fitness choices could be the low level of awareness among Singaporeans about what constitutes healthy living. In fact, the data shows a lack of understanding about basic guidelines on nutrition and exercise. More than 90 per cent surveyed do not know the optimum levels of daily exercise; nearly 70 per cent do not know the recommended daily intake for vegetables and fruits; and 60 per cent are not able to cite the recommended daily calorie intake.

On the bright side, it is encouraging to note that Singaporeans' actual drinking habits are far more positive. Of all respondents, only two per cent of males and three per cent of females drink past the alcohol limit, while just one per cent consumes more than the recommended limit of four to five cups of coffee/tea a day. This is in spite of the fact that the majority of Singaporeans are ignorant about the recommended level of alcohol (95 per cent) and coffee/tea consumption (97 per cent).

Ms Angela Hunter, Chief Customer Officer at Prudential Singapore said creating greater awareness about heathy habits is the first step towards nurturing a healthy nation. "Prudential has always been a strong advocate for healthy living. We hope our survey spurs Singaporeans to learn more about their state of wellness, the impact of the lifestyle choices they make, and move towards healthier living. After all, research from the World Health Organisation has shown that 80 per cent of coronary heart disease and cerebrovascular disease can be avoided by improvements in lifestyle choices, such as healthier food consumption," said Ms Hunter.

What keeps Singaporeans from maintaining a healthy diet and fitness regime?

Besides the knowledge gap, the survey also reveals the barriers that keep people from maintaining a healthy diet and fitness regime. The lack of self-motivation (55 per cent) and time (48 per cent) were the top two reasons cited. Not surprisingly, having more personal free time (46 per cent) ranks as the top motivator that would push Singaporeans to commit to healthier choices, followed by having a more enjoyable experience of exercising and eating healthily (43 per cent), and receiving monetary incentives and financial aid (42 per cent). The prevention of negative outcomes such as illness or obesity (43 per cent) will also drive them to make better choices.

myDNA - Singapore's first DNA-based fitness and nutrition programme

To help Singaporeans along the path to better health, Prudential partnered Prenetics, one of Asia's leading genetics testing companies, to launch a groundbreaking health innovation known as myDNA. Launched exclusively to Prudential's employees and customers, myDNA is Singapore's first DNA-based7 fitness and diet programme which aims to promote better lifestyle habits through greater health awareness.

The myDNA programme involves the use of a simple saliva test to provide personalised insights through a 40+ page report. The report reveals how an individual's genes may affect his or her nutrition needs (vitamins and minerals), dietary sensitivities and fitness. For instance, individuals can find out whether they may be more sensitive to carbohydrates, fats and alcohol, as well as which exercises may be best for them.

myDNA also offers a comprehensive suite of resources to help individuals achieve their fitness goals. This includes a mobile application that helps users set fitness goals, track progress, log food photos and get a calorie count; a chat-on-demand with nutrition experts for diet advice; a one-time phone consultation with a professional dietician; and a series of wellness events organised by Prudential.

Danny Yeung, Chief Executive Officer of Prenetics, said, "myDNA is an innovative tool to make health a choice. By increasing awareness of the way our genes and lifestyle factors work together to shape our health, we hope to help individuals achieve better long-term health outcomes by proactively making healthier choices."

myDNA is independently administered by Prenetics and Prudential does not have access to individual customer data. It is a non-diagnostic test and cannot be used to predict if one has or will develop certain health conditions.

__________________

1 Based on guidelines provided by the Health Promotion Board.

2 The study was conducted among 501 Singapore Citizens or Permanent Residents aged 20-59 years old. They completed a 10-minute online survey between 2 August 2017 to 8 August 2017.

3 Health Promotion Board: https://www.healthhub.sg/programmes/56/fruits-and-veggies

4 Health Promotion Board: https://www.healthhub.sg/live-healthy/15/dietary_guidelines_adults

5 Health Promotion Board: https://www.healthhub.sg/live-healthy/386/150minutes

6 Health Promotion Board: https://www.hpb.gov.sg/article/health-promotion-board-launches-national-physical-activity-guidelines

7 myDNA is a saliva-based DNA test. Its genotyping has a 99.9% accuracy validated by the CORE Facilities-Genome Sequencing Laboratory (CFGSL) at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Prenetics, the provider of myDNA, processes all myDNA test samples in their own proprietary laboratory based in Hong Kong that is internationally accredited under ISO-15189:2012. All DNA categories tested in myDNA are supported by a rigorous volume of research conducted by leading science and research institutes around the world.

26 August 2017

Great Eastern Celebrates 109 - Photo1
Great Eastern turned 109 today. To mark the occasion, 109 employees and distribution representatives celebrated with a difference - planting 50 endangered local native trees at East Coast Park.

Great Eastern Gives Back As It Celebrates 109

Singapore, 26 August 2017 - Great Eastern turns 109 today. To mark the occasion, 109 employees and distribution representatives celebrated with a difference - planting 50 endangered local native trees at East Coast Park.

Commented Colin Chan, Managing Director, Group Marketing, "We are taking the opportunity of our 109th birthday to give back to the environment, our customers and the community. Today's tree planting is our contribution to Singapore's greening efforts towards a sustainable environment.

"As a LIFE company, we believe in empowering our customers to live healthier and better while providing innovative insurance solutions. To help bridge the protection gap, we recently launched Great Protector, which offers up to $3 million protection for just $1.50 a day."

As another birthday treat, Great Eastern Live Great members can also look forward to enjoying a free cup of llao llao frozen yoghurt from 8 September. Some 15,000 cups will be available for redemption.

In addition, on 16 September, the community can look forward to enjoying the Live Great Fiesta at the Singapore Sports Hub Community Play Day. Families can look forward to fun-filled experiences, including the Great Eastern Viper Challenge and Zumba workouts.

Great Eastern Celebrates 109 - Photo2
Great Eastern top management joined 109 employees and distribution representatives to plant 50 endangered local native trees at East Coast Park this morning to mark Great Eastern's 109th birthday. (L to R: Colin Chan, Managing Director Group Marketing; Ben Tan, Managing Director, Regional Agency & FA and Raymond Ong, Group Chief Risk Officer)

31 August 2017

Prudential Singapore's industry-first intelligent chatbot provides information specific to customers' life insurance plans

askPRU part of Prudential's digital roadmap to enhance customer experience

askPRU Chatbot - Infographic

SINGAPORE, 31 August 2017 - As part of Prudential's customer-centric approach, the life insurer has launched an industry-first chatbot that can provide its Financial Consultants with real-time information specific to their customers' life insurance plans.     

Named askPRU, the cognitive-powered chatbot is built on IBM Watson technology and integrated into Prudential's backend systems. It is able to retrieve instantly data such as a customer's policy cash value, policy premium due date and status of submitted claims, among others. As askPRU operates round the clock, Prudential's Financial Consultants can communicate with the chatbot via a mobile application at any time of the day to obtain information pertaining to their customers' insurance plans, enabling them to be more productive and more responsive.

Using IBM Watson's Conversation Service, askPRU has been trained by NCS' data scientists to understand non-scripted questions, probe users to get to the intent of their queries and deliver responses in a way that simulates human conversations. 

Since the pilot launch of askPRU in July, more than half of Prudential's 4,000 Financial Consultants have started to use the chatbot. Ms. Theresa Nai, Chief Operating Officer at Prudential Singapore, said, askPRU is part of Prudential's commitment to continuously improve the service experience for its customers.

"In today's fast-paced, time-starved environment, our customers do not have the patience to wait for information. With askPRU, our Financial Consultants can now get faster access to customer-specific information and respond to their customers' queries even more promptly. askPRU is one of the ways in which we digitally enable our Financial Consultants so they are equipped to meet increasing consumer demands and expectations," said Ms Nai.

askPRU complements PRUONE Express, an enhanced digital point-of-sales portal, to help Prudential's Financial Consultants engage their customers more efficiently. For instance, PRUONE Express is able to generate a detailed quotation in just three seconds and uses the latest technologies, such as SmartData Capture and Fingerprint Authentication, to facilitate a quicker and more effective consultation and sales process. Launched earlier this month, all of Prudential's Financial Consultants currently have access to PRUONE Express to complete their sales process and to submit new policy requests.

askPRU to potentially reduce call volume at Prudential's Contact Centre by 30 per cent

Apart from improving customer experience, askPRU also creates operational efficiencies for the life insurer. Prudential estimates that approximately 30 per cent of its Financial Consultants' queries received by its Contact Centre consultants today can be answered by askPRU. With frequently-asked queries channeled to the chatbot, Prudential's Contact Centre consultants will be able to focus on handling more complex enquiries and provide a better service to its Financial Consultants and customers.

Designed as a standalone mobile application, askPRU was developed in collaboration with NCS Pte Ltd (NCS), IBM Watson and Nokomai Studios. IBM Watson is a cognitive computing technology platform that uses natural language processing and machine learning to reveal insights from large amounts of structured and unstructured data, such as text and images.

Users of askPRU Chatbot
More than one in two Prudential Financial Consultants are now active users of the askPRU chatbot since its pilot launch in July 2017

8 September 2017

Tote Bag Painting with Children's Cancer Foundation by Old Mutual International (OMI) Singapore 

OMI Tote Bag Painting Workshop

Around 11 children from the Children's Cancer Foundation accompanied by their family members, participated in a tote bag painting workshop organised by OMI. It was held at Cafe Melba at the Goodman Arts Centre and it was fun filled morning where children and adults alike got their creative juices flowing. Art instructors from Lionheart Studios were invited to facilitate the workshop. The helpful instructors helped the children with ideas and taught them different painting techniques that they could use to channel their inner Picasso.

While the children were busy painting, the staff had a chance to connect with the family members to understand the heavy task they have as family members of children stricken with cancer. It was heartening to see how the family members persevere through the difficulties with much positivity. 

Lunch was served close to noon and after finishing their food, the children enjoyed the sunny weather by playing football with the staff in the field next to the cafe. The event ended around 1pm and everyone left with a big smile and a new tote bag.

CPF Board - Big R Chat Campaign Banner

Greetings from CPF Board!

We are into our third year of our Big 'R' Chat campaign, which we've launched on 3 August and will run till 5 November. Through this year's key message of "Act Now, For A Better Retirement", we hope to prompt all members to take action for a better retirement, such as by making a CPF transfer or cash top-up for themselves and their loved ones. The campaign will also continue to highlight how CPF supports the three basic retirement needs of home ownership, healthcare financing and lifelong income. 

Campaign Details

The campaign is being carried across various paid, earned and owned platforms including television, newspapers, out-of-home media, digital, social media and our CPF Service Centres. Complementing our mass publicity, we will have a series of roadshows that will be held island wide.

Roadshow Dates Region Venue
12 & 13 Aug Central Toa Payoh HDB Hub
16 & 17 Sep East Our Tampines Hub
30 Sep & 1 Oct West Canopy @ J-Link
21 & 22 Oct South Suntec City Mall
4 & 5 Nov North Compass One

Central to the campaign is our microsite (cpf.gov.sg/bigRchat), which not only serves as a content hub, but also hosts a suite of simple online tools to visually illustrate how a small action can bring a member closer to his/her desired retirement lifestyle.

Industry News

Guidelines/Circulars issued

14 Jul 2017 MC 79/17 - REFERENCE CHECK FORM (RCF): UPDATED LIST OF EMAIL ADDRESSES OF INSURERS AND BANKS FOR RCF INQUIRIES
15 Aug 2017 MC 85/17 - GENERIC MEDICAL REPORT TEMPLATE FROM OPG FOR ACTIVATION OF LASTING POWER OF ATTORNEY (LPA)
22 Aug 2017 MC 89/17 - NOTICE OF REPEAL: MU 17/99 - UNIFORM ELEMENTS IN PROPOSAL FORM

Q&A with Andy Sumner

Andy Sumner - Photo1 Andy Sumner has been at St. James's Place (SJP) for 12 years, the last three of which have been here in Singapore as the Principal Officer of St. James's Place International (Singapore Branch). 

Andy worked at Zurich Financial Services for 10 years in a variety of back office roles.  Andy was also the Chief Risk Officer for St. James's Place in Asia and previously been the Head of SJP's UK risk team before moving to Singapore. Andy has a BA Honors in Business Studies from the University of the West of England.

1. What are some of your career highlights? 

Andy Sumner - Photo2
Andy with Mr. David Bellamy, Chief Executive Officer of St. James's Place Wealth Management plc

My career highlight is definitely being involved in establishing SJP in Singapore and more widely in Asia. It has been an amazing journey so far and I have learnt a lot along the way both professionally and personally.

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

Be present! By being 100% focused on where you are at that moment in time means you, and others, get the most out of your time. 

3. What do you usually do in your leisure time? 

Andy Sumner and his family - Photo1
Andy Sumner and his family - Photo2

I enjoy travelling and have visited Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan and Australia; some on more than one occasion! We are looking forward to going to Japan again next year as well as skiing in New Zealand. I also love keeping up-to-date with the Rugby back in the UK and I am really happy that my daughter is just starting to get into touch rugby!

4. Who are your inspirations in life?

Richard Hill - a rugby union legend.

5. Tell us about a little-known fact about yourself. 

I tried to cure my fear of heights when I was in Queenstown in New Zealand by bungee jumping off a bridge and completing a sky dive on the same day... I did them... But it didn't work!

6. Describe your proudest moment.

The birth of my daughter, Freya, and seeing her grow into a confident girl and, no doubt too soon, young woman.

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

I love to see the people I work with grow and develop and I look forward, kind of, to the day that I sit back and realise that I am not needed in Singapore any more.

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