Singapore life insurance business dips 1% in Q1

SINGAPORE - Singapore's life insurance business dipped in the first three months of this year as total weighted new business premiums - a key metric for the industry - down one per cent to $649.4 million, according to figures on Thursday from the Life Insurance Association Singapore.

LIA Singapore said single premium products where consumers pay only a one-time premium - rose 22 per cent to $204.4 million, of which 16 per cent were CPF-funded policies.

However, this was offset by a nine per cent fall in annual premium products to $445 million, which the association attributed to the comparable period last year being the last quarter which carried the impact of insurers' pricing revisions in 2013.

The total sum assured for new business rose four per cent to $19.9 billion from the year-ago quarter.

This came about despite LIA Singapore said the 12 life insurers offering the Direct Purchase Insurance (DPI) products have been receiving queries from the public following their launch last month.

It aded that about one in two individuals here has health cover with total premiums amounting to S$1.62 billion as at end-March, 2015.

Starting from April this year, the five insurers providing Integrated Shield Plans (IPs) are partnering the Ministry of Health (MOH) to provide existing policyholders with information about the distinct yet integrated nature of MediShield Life and the additional benefits from private IPs.

Said Dr Khoo Kah Siang, president of LIA Singapore: "Our priority for 2015 is preparing for a smooth implementation of MediShield Life, working closely with the government to further improve public education on health insurance and how MediShield Life and IPs work, and their relationship with one another."

Letters from MOH are being posted to Singapore citizens and permanent residents to inform them to update their household information in order to receive the correct amount of subsidies they may be entitled to for the MediShield Life portion. MediShield Life will be rolled out at the end of 2015.