Issue No. 24 October - December 2015
Message from the PresidentIndustry Events
Industry News

Message from the President

Singapore life insurance industry achieves seven per cent growth in third quarter
 
From January to September 2015, S$2.166 billion in weighted[1] new business premiums was achieved, a seven per cent increase over the same period in 2014.
 
There was a 21 per cent increase for annual premium products in 3Q2015 compared to the 2014 corresponding period, as well as a 13 per cent boost for single premium investment-linked policies. This is also higher than the 2Q2015 results, and is largely attributed to three factors namely:

Photo of LIA President

  • New product launches
  • Sales and marketing initiatives
  • Increased uptake in savings-oriented products through bancassurance
  • Overall, the industry saw a nine per cent growth to S$1.51 billion of weighted annual premium products, and a three per cent growth to S$658.9 million of weighted single premium products for YTD 3Q2015. Seventeen per cent of the weighted single premium products comprised CPF-funded policies. Investment-linked products contributed S$434 million in the first three quarters of 2015, accounting for 20 per cent of total weighted new business premiums. At S$1.14 billion, participating products continued to make up the largest share (53 per cent).
     
    Direct Purchase Insurance (DPI)
     
    3Q015 saw Direct Purchase Insurance[2] (DPI) products contributing to the industry's suite of product offerings. DPI products are basic life insurance plans sold without financial advice and purchased directly from customer service centres or websites of life insurance companies in Singapore.
     
    Launched on 7 April 2015, close to S$347,000 of weighted new premiums for 420 DPI policies were taken up, of which 96 per cent were regular premium term life policies. Term policies provide insurance protection at affordable premiums. We also see some demand for whole life insurance which offers lifelong protection and savings.
     
    Industry strength

    Some 6,245 staff are employed by member companies and 14,797 representatives hold exclusive contracts with companies that operate a tied agency force. These reflect a 10 per cent and six per cent increase compared to the previous year and are attributed to new companies and expansion activities. 
     
    Looking forward
     
    In the coming year, the life insurance industry will continue to work hand-in-hand with regulators to ensure smooth transition and implementation of remaining FAIR initiatives and Integrated Shield Plans, including the introduction of Standard B1 Plans. The industry is also committed to ensuring that the evolving needs of consumers are met through product innovation.
     
    It leaves me to thank the industry and colleagues for making 2015 another good year, and wish one and all a well-deserved season of holidays and family time.
     
    Khoo Kah Siang

    [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] More information on DPI can be found on www.moneysense.gov.sg/dpi.

    Industry Events

    Manulife launches Global Women's Alliance
    30 September 2015

    Manulife Singapore recently launched the Singapore Chapter of the Global Women's Alliance (GWA), a global employee network created by Manulife to support the attraction, development and advancement of women throughout the organisation.

    Global Women's Alliance (GWA) Singapore Chapter
    Naveed Irshad, President and Chief Executive Officer of Manulife Singapore, (second from right) and committee members of the GWA Singapore Chapter.

    Companies around the world are starting to recognise that greater diversity and gender balance, especially in leadership positions, can improve business results and enhance organisational performance. At Manulife, diversity and inclusion are an important part of the company's culture and the GWA is one of the development programmes in the company aimed at promoting gender diversity. 

    For its first activity post-launch, Manulife's GWA Singapore Chapter took the opportunity to celebrate the season of giving by organising a donation drive to benefit women who are in less fortunate circumstances. Manulife Singapore's employees pooled together to donate daily necessities to residents of Star Shelter, a crisis centre in Singapore that provides temporary meals and lodging for women and their children who are victims of domestic violence.

    Manulife Singapore employees at Star Shelter
    Manulife Singapore employees delivered daily necessities to Star Shelter as an early Christmas present for the residents.

    More than 120 employees donated the items to the centre a week before Christmas, helping to bring some much-needed festive cheer to the residents.

    Tokio Marine Life Insurance Singapore Ltd. receives Golden Jubilee Business Award in recognition of achievements and economic contribution
    4 November 2015
    Suntec City Convention Centre

    Tokio Marine Life Insurance Singapore Ltd. is proud to be named a recipient of the Golden Jubilee Business Awards 2015. Organised by the Singapore Business Federation, the award recognises and celebrates the achievements, economic contribution and strict compliance standards of companies over the decades, in conjunction with Singapore's Golden Jubilee this year.

    "Across Tokio Marine Insurance Group, we are committed to our growth as the Good Company, which looks beyond profit to focus on how we can deliver on our commitments to our customers, partners, and Singapore," said Mr Lance Tay, Chief Executive Officer of Tokio Marine Life Insurance Singapore Ltd.

    "We are honoured to receive the Golden Jubilee Business Award, which is an affirmation of our guiding principles. Looking ahead, we will continue building on our efforts to support Singapore's growth and development as a competitive economy."

    Golden Jubilee Business Award

    As one of the largest insurance groups in the world with a presence in over 486 cities across 37 countries, Tokio Marine has established a reputation in Singapore as a leading insurer through its strong historical investment returns, disciplined underwriting and careful expense management. 

    Industry News

    Standard Life International Ltd (Singapore Branch) leaves Singapore

    Standard Life ceased to be a member of LIA, effective 18 November 2015.

    Zurich Life Insurance (Singapore)
    Zurich International Life (Singapore Branch)

    Zurich Life and Zurich International Life ceased to accept new business, effective 1 December 2015.

    Zurich will continue to maintain MAS-licensed entities to service existing customers.

    New Associate Member admitted

    We welcome RGA International Reinsurance Company Limited Singapore Branch, which was admitted as LIA's latest and 6th life reinsurer member on 23 December 2015.
     
    LIA Guidelines issued

    AIA Singapore's Digital Underwriter: A quicker and easier way to get insured
    12 October 2015

    With technology taking over nearly every aspect of Singaporean life, it now comes as no surprise that even businesses such as insurance companies are taking the lead with easier and faster transactions, harnessing digital avenues to make transactions easier and more efficient.

    Aiming to simplify the insurance purchase process, AIA Singapore, for instance, launched the country's first digital underwriting module last October. This module comes as the average Singaporean is underinsured and the protection gap for working adult population in Singapore is estimated to be S$462 billion, according to the protection gap analysis commissioned by the Life Insurance Association (LIA)1. In addition, every two in five Singaporeans now own a tablet computer compared to one in three in 2012, according to a 2013 Straits Times report - indicating that Singaporeans, now well-versed in the latest technology, are now receptive to going online for their business, including insurance.

    "In today's fast-paced world, we know the importance of making it easy for customers to do business with us and we are committed to provide the best possible service at their time of need. This is a step in the right direction for us as The Real Life Company with a vision to be Singapore's undisputed number one insurer on every measure," shares Patrick Teow, Chief Executive Officer of AIA Singapore, describing the company's new digital underwriting service, which recently won the Innovator of the Year Award for the Financial Services Industry, for the Singapore Business Review Excellence Awards 2015.

    The new digital service, AIA Singapore claims, is part of its commitment to improve Singaporeans' lives via innovative solutions that bridge the country's protection gap and to offer a holistic customer experience.

    With AIA's digital underwriter, customers now answer and submit insurance application forms digitally, effectively bidding farewell to the days of old when manually filling up lengthy and generic insurance forms was very much the norm.

    "Leveraging iPoS's (interactive point-of-sales) leading technology, the company's underwriting questions have been simplified and personalised to suit specific profiles, which can reduce the number of questions customers need to answer by more than half," AIA Singapore says.

    Transactions are faster: thanks to on-the-spot, electronic underwriting, which allows for instant confirmation of results for standard insurance applications, once underwriting is completed and policy contracts issued - a much faster turnover time compared to the current waiting time of up to three days.

    "This will remove the anxiety and frustration customers sometimes experience while waiting days for a verdict on their applications," AIA Singapore notes. But while transactions are faster, they are no less dynamic or responsive. The AIA digital underwriter "will respond to any additional disclosure from customers and ask supplementary questions," in order to expedite the underwriting process for standard insurance applications.

    Transactions are also more convenient: by going online, customers can simply browse through streamlined and personalised policy questions with a "cleaner, slicker" design for use on digital devices such as tablets, thus enhancing productivity for customers who are always on the go.

    Aside from improving the process of applying for insurance for customers, AIA's enhanced iPoS with the new digital underwriter also gives more than 4,000 AIA Financial Services Consultants (AIA FSCs) a distinct advantage by further simplifying the business process for them.

    "AIA FSCs will also spend less time on administrative matters and more time on providing quality advice to meet customers' protection and financial needs, and our underwriters can focus more on handling complex cases and expedite the approval of customer applications," AIA Singapore says.

    At the end of the day, what exactly drives AIA Singapore's commitment to constantly offer new and innovative products for its customers? It all boils down to a passion for innovation.

    "AIA is pursuing a culture of innovation as part of our commitment to anticipate and provide the best possible service to meet the changing needs of our customers.  We will continue to roll out this technology in other AIA markets as we lead the way and set new standards for efficiency, productivity and customer experience in the industry" Sim Preston, Group Chief Operations Officer of AIA Group, said.

    Moving forward, AIA will continue to introduce innovative products and services to help ensure that customers remain financially secured and protected.

    Developing the game-changing digital underwriter in iPoS is a continuative innovation to iPoS, which was launched in 2012.  iPoS in AIA Singapore was recognised as Innovation of the Year 2013 Award at the 17th Asia Insurance Industry Awards, and received the 'Excellence in Distribution Channel Management Award' at the Financial Insights Innovation Awards in the same year.

    1 LIA - 2012 Protection Gap Study Singapore: http://www.lia.org.sg/files/news/2012/08/LIA_Protection_Gap_Study_2012_Report_28Aug12.pdf

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