Life insurance industry grew 10% in 2016

SINGAPORE - Lifted by strong sales in the fourth quarter, Singapore's life insurance industry expanded 10 per cent to S$3.29 billion for the year ended Dec 31 in terms of total weighted new business premiums.

The robust performance is reflected in the rise in total sum assured for new business which soared 15 per cent to S$117 billion.

For the full year, weighted single premium product sales rose 9 per cent to S$1.03 billion, boosted by a 15 per cent growth in non-linked products, such as term, whole life and savings plans, to S$799 million.

This was according to the Life Insurance Association Singapore (LIA) which held its quarterly briefing on Tuesday.

For the quarter ended Dec 31, total weighted new business premiums rose to S$955.3 million, up 15 per cent from the corresponding quarter last year. This was driven by a healthy growth of 20 per cent in annual premium sales to S$661.1 million whilst weighted single premium products registered a 4 per cent increase to S$294.2 million.

Last year, more than 50,000 Singapore residents took up health insurance coverage primarily through Integrated Shield Plans (IPs) and IP riders. As at Dec 31, 2.89 million lives (approximately one in two individuals here) were covered with total premiums amounting to S$1.42 billion.

For the 12 months ended Dec 31, new health insurance premiums amounted to S$241 million, of which IP premiums and IP riders accounted for about 86 per cent or S$208 million. The remaining S$33 million was contributed by other medical plans and riders.

Banks continued to be the main channel of distribution at S$1.25 billion or 38 per cent of total weighted new business premiums last year. Tied agents accounted for 37 per cent and financial advisers 21 per cent.

The remaining four per cent came from other products that are sold without intermediaries such as ElderShield.