Insurer AIA Singapore lifted its full-year performance despite what it cited as pressure on profitability from double-digit medical inflation, it said yesterday.
Operating profit after tax rose 7 per cent to US$558 million (S$755 million) for the 12 months to Dec 31 compared with 2017.
The results reflect an 18 per cent increase in its value of new business over the year to US$357 million, with firmer sales driven mainly by the agency channel and its strategic partnership with Citibank.
Margin for value of new business fell from 69.7 per cent to 65.4 per cent, due primarily to lower profitability from its HealthShield division and higher volumes of single premium unit-linked business ahead of a regulatory change in October last year.
AIA Singapore said it has kept its "market leadership position" in agency distribution, boosting growth through this core distribution channel. The insurer also lifted its annualised new premium in Singapore by 26 per cent to US$547 million, driven by regular premium protection products in all channels.
Meanwhile, AIA Group posted a 22 per cent rise in its 2018 new business value, boosted by expansion in China and demand for insurance in Hong Kong, its home market, reported Reuters.
Its value of new business, which measures expected profits from new premiums and is a key gauge for growth, rose to US$3.96 billion in 2018, up from US$3.21 billion in 2017.