Insurance industry records flat growth in Q3

SINGAPORE - The insurance industry here posted flat growth in weighted new business premiums, which declined 1 per cent to S$808.2 million in the third quarter, figures from the Life Insurance Association (LIA) showed on Tuesday (Nov 8).

During the period, weighted single premium product sales declined 14 per cent to S$232.8 million while annual premium products rose 6 per cent to S$575.4 million.

The picture is rosier for the nine months ended Sept 30. The insurance industry showed steady progress with an 8 per cent increase in total weighted new business premiums to S$2.33 billion, compared to the same period last year. Weighted single premium products grew 11 per cent to S$730.8 million while annual premium products recorded S$1.6 billion in new sales, up 6 per cent.

Health insurance continues to be a one of the top priorities for Singaporeans.

From July to end-September, about 10,000 more Singapore residents obtained additional health insurance coverage, mostly through Integrated Shield Plans (IPs) and/or riders.

In all, new health insurance premiums totalled S$172 million for the nine months ended Sept 30, of which IP premiums and IP riders accounted for 85 per cent (S$146 million). The remaining S$26 million was contributed by other medical plans and riders.

About one in two individuals in Singapore (2.87 million lives) are covered by health insurance with total premiums amounting to S$1.37 billion, as at Sept 30.

Following the recent recommendations from the Health Insurance Task Force (HITF) to rein in escalating health costs, the association said it has set up a working committee to review those that are specific to the industry. It expects to report on its review in six months.

lornatan@sph.com.sg