FWD to pull out of group medical insurance business in Singapore

The move will impact over 80,000 members across various companies covered by its employee benefits business, according to FWD's website.
The move will impact over 80,000 members across various companies covered by its employee benefits business, according to FWD's website.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) - FWD Group, believed to be the fifth-largest group medical insurer in Singapore, is exiting this business here.

The insurance arm of Hong Kong's investment conglomerate Pacific Century Group said it will wind down its employee benefits business in Singapore, key of which is group medical insurance, by December 2020, a company spokesman told The Business Times (BT).

This means that FWD Singapore will no longer pitch for new contracts for that business and will also not renew existing contracts once they expire, the spokesman added.

The move will impact over 80,000 members across various companies covered by its employee benefits business, according to FWD's website.

The spokesman also told BT that affected clients were informed last month on the shuttering of the business.

"FWD Singapore has made a business decision to focus on and allocate more investment and resources to other lines of business that support stronger future growth in the market, including our fully direct and online life and general insurance business," the spokesman said on Wednesday (Dec 4) in response to BT's queries.

The company did not provide details on what will happen to its staff working in the employee benefits department.

FWD is controlled by entrepreneur Richard Li, the son of Hong Kong's richest man Li Ka-shing.

In April 2016, it acquired a 90 per cent stake in group medical insurance provider Shenton Insurance from Parkway Holdings, an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of IHH Healthcare Berhad. Shenton was then rebranded to FWD.

FWD will still maintain its direct-to-consumer business, which offers a suite of life and general insurance products including direct-term life, car, travel, personal accident and maid insurance.

Outside of Singapore, FWD Group spans Hong Kong and Macau, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Japan, offering life and medical insurance, general insurance and employee benefits across a number of its markets.