Life insurance industry notches up steady first quarter growth

SINGAPORE - Singapore's life insurance business rose 5 per cent to S$682.1 million in weighted new business premiums for the first three months of this year, according to the Life Insurance Association (LIA).

This included sales of single-premium products which were up 6 per cent to S$215.9 million, and weighted annual premium sales which rose 5 per cent to S$466.2 million.

LIA highlighted that the total sum assured for new business grew strongly by 11 per cent, totalling S$22.1 billion, from the same period last year.

From Jan to Mar 31, as many as 209 Direct Purchase Insurance (DPI) policies were sold, drawing about S$180,000 in weighted new premiums, of which 87 per cent were regular premium term-life policies. DPI products are basic life plans sold without financial advice and bought directly from insurers' customer service centres or websites.

Launched on Apr 7 last year, these plans provide affordable protection and are suitable for people looking for basic family cover. To-date, 855 DPI policies have been purchased resulting in S$730,000 in weighted premiums.

Dr Khoo Kah Siang, president of LIA, said, "We are encouraged by the first quarter results which continued from strong growth seen in 2015. The life insurers have stepped up to the change in regulations and market demand well, and will continue to innovate to deliver life insurance solutions and services that meet the needs of consumers."

Last year, the LIA focused on implementing the key Financial Advisory Industry Review (Fair) initiatives, which include aggregator website compareFirst, DPI products and the Balanced Scorecard framework for financial adviser representatives.

lornatan@sph.com.sg