New insurer Singapore Life acquires Zurich Life Sg and S$6b of coverage

SINGAPORE - Singapore's newest life insurer Singapore Life is acquiring the business portfolio of Zurich Life Singapore, the two firms said.

Under the agreement, Singapore Life will become responsible for all Zurich Life Singapore's customers' policies, totalling approximately S$6 billion of coverage for life, critical illness and disability benefits.

This agreement follows Zurich Life Singapore's closure to new business in December 2015 and does not affect any of Zurich's other life or commercial insurance businesses in Singapore.

These include Zurich International Life, a direct life insurer, and Zurich Insurance Company, which operates as the Asian commercial insurance business for the Zurich Insurance Group.

The transfer of all Zurich Life Singapore's policies to Singapore Life is expected to be completed in the first half of this year, subject to confirmation by the High Court.

Singapore Life chief executive officer Walter de Oude said: "Bringing this portfolio of customers into that of Singapore Life's is exactly in line with our strategy to accelerate quickly in becoming a preferred Singaporean insurance company for our customers' needs.

"With the strong support from our shareholders, we are confident that this agreement will demonstrate Singapore Life's aspirations for significant growth and positively contribute to Singapore's insurance industry and beyond."

He added: "We are proud of what Singapore Life is doing and the progress we are making. Both our online and advised sales have exceeded our expectations for 2017, which suggests that our customers are happy with our offering also."

Singapore Life, which became a fully licensed direct life insurer last year, bills itself as a digital insurance company, using cutting-edge technology to streamline applications and claims and keep premiums low.

All Zurich Life Singapore policyholders who transfer to Singapore Life will continue to have the existing terms and conditions of their policies upheld and will enjoy the same service level as existing Singapore Life customers - including 24/7 access to their policies online.

They can also take full advantage of Singapore Life's online capabilities to manage their policies - either on their own, or together with their financial advisers. All existing relationships between customers and their financial advisers will be maintained as well.

Customers who are affected will receive further information from Zurich Life Singapore and Singapore Life regarding the personal details of their transfer in early 2018.

Zurich Life Singapore chief executive officer David Kneale said the move is in line with Zurich's strategy to optimise its portfolio and geographical footprint, and follows an extensive process to ensure that existing policyholder terms and conditions are safeguarded.

"We are confident our customers will continue to enjoy a high level of service and security with Singapore Life. We remain fully committed to growing our commercial insurance business in Singapore and maintaining excellent customer service for our international life customers who are not impacted by the transfer."

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