Issue No. 20 October - December 2014
Message from the PresidentIndustry Events
Q&A with K L Teh, IBF Fellow (Technology & Operations) 2014Q&A with Karen Shee, IBF Fellow (Life Insurance) 2014
Q&A with Susan Tay, Runner-Up, YAMA 2014

Message from the President

LIA PresidentLife insurance industry achieves growth in sales of single premium products for the first three quarters of 2014

The period January to September 2014 saw a significant 23 per cent increase in sales of single premium products, totaling S$640.9 million in weighted[1] new business premiums, and of which 14 per cent were CPF-funded policies. This was largely due to increased uptake in participating ("par") and non-par products during the period under review.

Weighted annual premium sales totaling S$1,383.5 million continued to be the largest contributor to new business despite registering a nine per cent dip over the same period in 2013.

The spike in premiums due to re-pricing of Integrated Shield Plans conducted from March 2013 over the following 12 months for renewal business had tapered off. Approximately one in two individuals in Singapore (2.74 million lives) has health insurance cover with total paid up premiums amounting to S$1.5 billion as at 30 September 2014.

Overall, the industry achieved a total of S$2,024.4 million in weighted new business premiums, a marginal one per cent dip over the same period in 2013.

The life insurance industry paid out S$5.33 billion to policyholders and beneficiaries as at end September 2014. Of this, S$439 million was for death, critical illness or disability claims, and the remaining S$4.89 billion for policies that matured. A larger number of policies had matured in the third quarter of 2014.

[1]Weighted new business premium is calculated as 10% Single Premium Insurance + 100% Annual Premium Insurance + Adjusted premium for Insurance with premium payment durations of less than 10 years

Launch of new initiatives in 2015

Our industry continues to mature as we introduce major initiatives to cater to the evolving needs of Singapore's population and contribute to national progress. We are at the frontline working closely with policymakers and relevant bodies to effectively develop and roll-out these changes.

Consumers can look forward to the information portal on life insurance, which allows for product comparison, the purchase of protection insurance without financial advice, enhanced framework and practices for Integrated Shield Plans to complement MediShield Life, and more consistent delivery of quality advisory service from representatives regardless of types of distribution channel.

Season's greetings

As 2014 draws to a close, may I wish our readers a most blessed season of holidays, festivities, family bonding and much needed rest to re-charge!
Khoo Kah Siang

Industry Events

1 October 2014
Marina Bay Sands, Singapore
ASEAN Insurance Summit 2014

Photo1 of GOH, Mr Lim Hng Kiang Photo2 of GOH, Mr Lim Hng Kiang
Photo of LIA President, Dr Khoo Kah Siang Photo of one of the speakers
Group Photo with GOH, Mr Lim Hng Kiang
Photo1 of Attendees
Photo2 of Attendees

The ASEAN Insurance Council (AIC), with the support of the ASEAN Secretariat, organised the inaugural ASEAN Insurance Summit around the theme ASEAN Economic Community 2015 - Opportunities and Challenges.

The Summit successfully raised the awareness of senior ASEAN insurance industry leaders and practitioners concerning the progress of AEC 2015 and potential impact on their business activities. About 250 senior leaders, including Chairmen, Board Directors and Senior Management of ASEAN insurance companies and related service companies, participated in the Summit.

The Summit provided a forum for participants to engage in policy-making by contributing their concerns and views on issues related to the AEC.

Singapore's Minister for Trade and Industry, and Deputy Chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, Lim Hng Kiang, officiated at the opening ceremony and delivered the keynote address. In addition, Dr Lim Hong Hin, Deputy Secretary-General of the ASEAN Secretariat, spoke on ASEAN's economic performance and the prospects for continued growth and development.

A distinguished panel of over 30 speakers, moderators and panelists from ASEAN and beyond participated in the various plenary and concurrent breakout sessions covering legal, regulatory and tax issues; market conduct issues; long-term products; talent movement; and interdependency of natural catastrophe events.

A highlight was the Regulators' Panel, at which a number of ASEAN insurance regulators shared updates on the progress of preparations for AEC 2015 in their respective countries.

For more information, go to

6 November 2014
First-year free health insurance from Great Eastern Life for SG50 Jubilee babies

Photo for Great Eastern Life
Great Eastern's CEO Dr Khoo Kah Siang (in red tie) and Chief Marketing Officer Colin Chan pen their wishes for Singapore along with some of the beneficiaries of Great Eastern's adopted charities

Great Eastern, Singapore's oldest life insurance company, announced that Jubilee babies will receive free health insurance for their first year worth $108 from the company. This is one of several initiatives for the community in celebration of Singapore's 50th birthday.

Great Eastern's Jubilee Baby Pack will also comprise a customised bib together with a pair of mittens and booties and will be posted to parents-to-be two months before the expected date of delivery. They will also be invited to Great Eastern's Live Great events and workshops on parenting and child development.

Commented Dr Khoo Kah Siang, Great Eastern Singapore CEO, "As a homegrown brand with a proud 106-year history, Great Eastern is privileged to have played our part in contributing to Singapore's growth and providing for the insurance needs for generations of Singaporeans. Welcoming a newborn is a happy occasion and with our Jubilee baby gift, parents can celebrate with peace of mind. We believe our gift is a fitting complement to the government's Jubilee Baby Gift."

Also, Great Eastern will fulfil 50 meaningful wishes in 2015. The public can submit their wishes via Wish Cards as well as online at from 1 December 2014. The first 5,000 online entries will receive a limited edition EZ-link card with a stored value of $10.

In addition, the public can also pen their well wishes for Singapore on 25,000 red and white wishing spheres sponsored by Great Eastern. The Wishing Spheres is part of the Marina Bay Singapore Countdown 2015, the curtain-raiser for Singapore's SG50 celebrations. These spheres, available at 31 wishing stations across the island from now till 14 December 2014, will be installed in the waters of Marina Bay to form a visual spectacle on New Year's Eve. The public can also make a wish on virtual spheres at from 7 November 2014.

Shared Dr Khoo, "With our GE SG50 Wishes, we will be fulfilling 50 meaningful wishes. Broadly, we are looking at wishes which support personal aspirations and dreams which celebrate life's great moments, be it for your family, friends or for yourself. What we would also consider meaningful are do-good wishes which improve the lives of Singaporeans and the community. As a LIFE company, Great Eastern champions health and wellness so entries which have strong elements of these will be welcomed. We hope to inspire Singaporeans to embrace the future with a healthy and positive outlook of life as well as foster a more gracious society where we put the needs of others above our own." 

Great Eastern's employees and financial consultants will also target to raise S$500,000 for the community and the underprivileged through a series of activities in 2015. One such activity is the Great Eastern Women's Run, which will be celebrating its 10th anniversary next year, to raise funds for children and women-related causes.

24 to 26 November 2014
Empire Hotel & Country Club, Brunei Darussalam
40th ASEAN Insurance Council Meeting 2014

Photo for the 40th AIC Meeting 2014

A few initiatives to take note are:

  • Launch of quarterly e-magazine, ASEAN Insurance Quarterly
  • Launch of Carma (Catastrophe and Risk Management in ASEAN), a free website for sharing of disaster information on ASEAN countries (including pandemics)
  • Planning regional efforts to attract more students to pursue Actuarial Science programmes

15 December 2014
Manulife Singapore unveils new user-friendly website

Screenshot of Manulife Singapore's website

Manulife Singapore has unveiled its revamped website at 

The refreshed site contains interactive and user-friendly features providing customised information to more directly address individual client needs.

The refresh is an important element of the company's strategy to place clients' interests first. Client surveys showed that users appreciate a website that is interactive and provides useful, tailored information focused clearly on their needs. The refresh was also informed by a Client Experience Lab, where Manulife's senior management put themselves in clients' shoes to better understand how clients experience the website and other client touch points. A major learning was to streamline and customise the content so that users can find the information they need more quickly and easily. 

The redesigned site offers easy navigation, with a strong focus on presenting information based on different personas and needs. One of the key features is an interactive tool that offers users a shortlist of Manulife's products based on their profile and priorities. Users simply need to identify their persona and answer three quick questions to generate a list of products that might be of interest to them. The product solution sections have also been enhanced to make them clear and simple, with infographics to illustrate features and benefits (see screenshot).

Naveed Irshad, President and CEO of Manulife Singapore said, "Redesigning our corporate website is part of our ongoing efforts to deliver a positive, client-centric experience. Consumers can be overwhelmed by the wealth of information available online. We want to empower consumers to get the right information they need quickly and easily. We believe in educating consumers and supporting them in taking a more active role in their financial planning."

Q&A with K L Teh, IBF Fellow (Technology & Operations) 2014

The Institute of Banking & Finance has launched a new certification title, the "IBF Fellow" to recognise industry veterans who have demonstrated mastery of a profession and exemplify thought leadership and commitment to industry development. The "IBF Fellow" is an industry-endorsed mark of professional standing.

IBF Fellows are invited to speak and network at exclusive events and conferences. As leaders of the IBF Community, they avail themselves as mentors through small-group sharing sessions with practitioners. Their knowledge and experience are passed down in the form of case-studies.

For more information, go to

Photo of K L Teh Another photo of K L Teh

Affable and 'seriously fun-loving' [Editor's interjection here Smile], K L Teh studied Aeronautical Engineering and later acquired an MBA both in the UK but ventured into the world of Information Technology when he joined IBM upon graduation, and the rest is history.

What are some of your career highlights?

  • Moved into user environment in 1993 as Head of IT at Tan Tock Seng Hospital
  • Entered Financial Services industry with Visa International in 1995
  • Headed the Singapore delegation to ISO meeting in Tokyo on smart card standards
  • Joined Great Eastern Life in 2000
  • Conferment as IBF Fellow in 2014

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

I believe in 'Putting my best foot forward and have fun doing it, if possible.' Being professional in work is important to me. Hence, doing the right thing by my employer, the people I have responsibilities for and my colleagues are important considerations in getting my job done. While I am serious when it comes to work, I also try to have my share of fun while getting the job done. Thankfully, many people I have worked with come to realise that I am not 100% serious all the time and I do try to inject a bit of fun into the serious work we are doing and the responsibilities we are charged with.


What do you usually do in your leisure time?

Mostly, I spend time with my family, travel with my wife and enjoy a bit of music and dancing, although I don't quite devote sufficient time to the latter, to be good at music or dancing.


Who are your inspirations in life?

There are so many of them during different stages of my life. For instance, Gandhi for making such a huge difference in so many people's lives; Einstein and Stephen Hawking for their brilliance and their contributions to our understanding of our universe. There is also Steve Jobs who had such a huge impact on the end user technologies that is common place today. Last but not least, my wife, who has been and still is an inspiration to me when it comes to treating and caring for our elders.

Tell us about a little-known fact about yourself.

I have been putting on weight despite hiding it pretty well! If this doesn't count, then it has to be the fact that I am somewhat sentimental and hold very dear a small number of close friends from my school days. It is true the saying that 'A friend in need is a friend indeed.' I have personal experience of it and am very grateful and blessed that I have a couple of close buddies whom I can truly call friends.

Describe your proudest moment.

They all revolve around my children. When my eldest child graduated for a second time, when my second son gained admission to study to be a vet and when my youngest was accepted into SMU to study Information Technology.

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

I love my job because it gives me opportunity to deal with technologies I am interested in and at the same time, opportunities to mentor and help some of the younger people I manage to do better work.

Q&A with Karen Shee, IBF Fellow (Life Insurance) 2014

In receiving the inaugural "IBF Fellow" certification, Karen has added another "Fellow" conferment to her string of titles - Fellow, Life Management Institute, LOMA, USA; and Fellow, Life & Health Claims, International Claims Association, USA.

Her first job after returning with a degree in Economics from the University of Toronto was as an agency assistant to three insurance sales directors. That was two decades ago.

The "look for a more appropriate job" promise that Karen made to her parents remains elusive to this day, for "I have not found any other career more appropriate for me than the one I am in!" confided Karen.

"I have experienced different roles within the insurance industry - from sales office to telemarketing, policy services, group insurance administration to reinsurance, and in the last 16 years in claims administration with Prudential. I can assuredly say now that my current role as Head of Claims is the perfect job fit for my personality and passion. I say it with a heart of gratitude to all my leaders and mentors who have invested in me and made it possible for me to fulfil my career calling".

What are some of your career highlights?

Set up claims administration for Integrated Shield plans in 2005. From a few hundred claims a month when we first started to more than tens of thousands of claims nine years on, our claims team remains lean and productive. Output is top of the class in the Ministry of Health's Claims Return Comparison for the past two years in terms of speed of settlement and quality of delivery.

Participation in industry projects since 2007. The opportunity to work with industry counterparts and LIA provided valuable insights and I gained an understanding of the workings of insurance and inter-organisational dynamics. These experiences and the exposure helped me to see beyond the confines of my own environment and to grow as a thought leader. 

Certainly the conferment of IBF Fellow designation for Life Insurance in November this year affirms my confidence as an insurance practitioner. I am very honoured to have received this recognition from IBF. I am grateful to LIA and Prudential Singapore management for endorsing and sponsoring my application. It is my turn to share and leave a legacy to the next generation - to nurture and guide them to be credible industry leaders."

IBF Fellow Conferment for Karen Shee
Me receiving the IBF Fellow Conferment Certificate from Mr Wee Ee Cheong

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

To excel in the things that matter and bring others alongside. To live life to the fullest and achieve what God has created me to be.

What do you usually do in your leisure time?

I catch up on Channel News Asia programmes for good ideas and learning points, and especially enjoy interviews with men and women who have contributed successfully in business or arts. Asia Power List, In Conversation With, and Insights are some of those I watch regularly. I get inspired and they produce positive energy in me. I dream of emulating successful leaders and entrepreneurs...

Who are your inspirations in life?

My mother, daughter and the company's Chief Operating Officer, Theresa Nai. 

My mum shows me what a virtuous woman is like. My daughter's joy and courage inspire me to press on and believe in the best of people and circumstances. Theresa's vision and wisdom exemplify the qualities of a great leader.

My family at IBF Conferment Ceremony
My mum and daughter with me at the IBF Conferment Ceremony on 25 Nov 2014 at Mandarin Oriental Hotel
My daughter and I
My daughter and me on an outing
My mum and I
My mum and I were having dinner at a Chinese restaurant at Mandarin Oriental Hotel

Tell us about a little-known fact about yourself.

I gave piano lessons to children to supplement my education expenses. My mum recently told me that a former student is now a successful piano teacher. I'm so proud to have played a part in her formation years. 

Describe your proudest moment.

  • When my company clinched the top spot in the MOH's Claims Return Comparison of Integrated Shield Plans

Through technology / digitalisation, simplification, standardisation and team work, we catapulted from the bottom of the chart to the top and have remained there since. It is not just about the speed in which our claims are processed but also the quality of customer service in the manner we deliver the outcome of the claims. I am very proud of my Claims team.

  • When I was conferred the IBF Fellow

One of my lifelong dreams has been fulfilled!

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

It gives me a platform to work out the gift and passion God has put in me.

Q&A with Susan Tay, Runner-Up, YAMA 2014

The ASEAN Insurance Council (AIC), realising the importance of encouraging young managers to persevere, develop themselves and attain leadership in the insurance industry, re-launched the annual Young ASEAN Managers Award (YAMA) in 2005.

This award honours outstanding young insurance managers for their achievements, contributions and dedication. As role models, award winners serve to encourage, motivate and inspire other managers to also become leaders. These young managers will help to shape a dynamic workforce for the insurance sector in the ASEAN region.

For photos and more information, go to

Photo of Susan TaySusan graduated with a degree in Business (Marketing) from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. She entered the insurance industry by chance 15 years ago.

She has more than ten years of experience leading service teams across multiple touch-points in the customer experience arena.

Vivacious and energetic, Susan is currently heading the Service Operations Unit in Aviva, comprising Service Quality, Client Management Email Helpdesk and Service Delivery Design teams.

What are some of your career highlights?

With Aviva, I've been given exciting learning opportunities, taking on new portfolios and roles as part of my career development, the latest being Service Delivery Design.

To uphold fair dealing, I have successfully designed numerous service experience initiatives covering end-to-end quality services across the enterprise. I'm also the company's representative in arbitration of financial disputes.

I'm particularly delighted and privileged to be nominated by Aviva Singapore to participate in the recent Young ASEAN Manager Award (YAMA) 2014 competition organised by the ASEAN Insurance Council.

I feel so very honoured to have received the YAMA 2014 Runner-up Award held in Brunei. It was an awesome experience, networking with other aspiring and inspiring insurance executives from the other ASEAN countries.

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

"Learn from the Past, Live in the Present, and Plan for the Future" is the philosophy I live by and which I hope to inculcate in my two sons - appreciating the essence of living life.

What do you usually do in your leisure time? 

My boys and I trek to off-limit areas for sports fishing, and we particularly enjoy deep sea fishing as a family. My most recent prized catch was a magnificent Sailfish. In quieter moments, I enjoy reading fiction books. I love to whip up a delicious Italian meal.

My boy and I Prized catch

Who are your inspirations in life?

I look up to my brother for showing me the meaning of giving. Beyond strength and determination given a busy work schedule, I see in him a passion for championing a good cause. He set up the "Ride to Give" Charity Event to support beneficiaries of Children's Cancer Foundation. His actions make me want to be a better person and are constant reminders to me to care more.

Tell us about a little-known fact about yourself.

I can't drive and no one can ever force me to take up driving lessons!

Describe your proudest moment.

  • Being one of the Top 3 in my school for GCE-O level exams because I put in lots of effort to catch up
  • Seeing my sons becoming fine young men and having God in the centre of their lives
My sons

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

I'm able to play to my strength; because of the people I work with; and because of the autonomy and trust given to me by my boss, How Teck, to manage the team.

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