More taking up life insurance products

The life insurance industry achieved double-digit growth for the first nine months of this year, chalking up strong uptake across all product types.

Total weighted new business premiums for the year to September rose 18 per cent year on year to $2.75 billion, said Life Insurance Association (LIA), Singapore yesterday. The sum assured for new business climbed 14 per cent to $92.5 billion, with growth in both single-and annual-premium products.

Year on year, there was a 23 per cent increase to $900.7 million in weighted single premiums, a 15 per cent increase to $1.85 billion in weighted annual premiums and a 27 per cent increase to $147 million in weighted premiums for retirement products.

Health insurance premiums totalled $258 million for the nine months, of which Integrated Shield Plans (IP) premiums and IP riders accounted for 91 per cent ($234 million). The remaining 9 per cent ($24 million) came from other medical plans and riders.

As at end-September, 2.94 million Singaporeans, about three in four, had an IP, which provides coverage over and above the included MediShield Life component.

LIA Singapore noted an uptake of 18,054 policies providing regular payouts to policyholders during their retirement years, representing a 24 per cent increase from the corresponding period last year. Such plans made up approximately 5 per cent of the total weighted premiums for the year to September.

Said LIA Singapore president Patrick Teow: "More Singaporeans recognise the value of financial planning and insurance for their future, and this is reflected in yet another quarter of strong growth for the life insurance industry.

"Especially against the backdrop of Singapore's rapidly greying population, we are heartened that Singaporeans are actively taking up insurance policies to secure steady income streams in their retirement years. Ensuring sustainable access to affordable healthcare is another key area of focus as our population continues to age."

The industry paid out $4.07 billion in claims to policyholders and beneficiaries for the year to end-September. Of this, $3.41 billion was for policies that matured; the remaining $657 million for death, critical illness or disability claims.

The number employed by the industry grew 8 per cent to 7,047 for the period, from 6,540 a year ago.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 09, 2017, with the headline 'More taking up life insurance products'. Print Edition | Subscribe