Life insurance business grew 19% in first quarter

Industry meeting consumers' needs with new products and multiple channels: LIA chief

Singapore's life insurance industry posted strong sales in the first quarter, with weighted new business premiums soaring 19 per cent to $811 million year on year.

The Life Insurance Association Singapore (LIA) yesterday unveiled the industry's results for the three months ended March 31.

LIA president Patrick Teow attri- buted the continued healthy growth to the industry's agility in responding to consumers' fast- changing needs through new pro- ducts and multiple channels.

Banks in Singapore continued to be the dominant distribution channel for new life insurance sales in the first three months of this year, outpacing tied agents and financial adviser representatives.

Bank representatives accounted for 46 per cent of total weighted new business premiums, compared with 33 per cent garnered by tied agents and 17 per cent by financial adviser representatives.

Mr Teow added that the encouraging results pointed to the industry's core focus on bridging Singapore's protection gap.

Looking ahead, LIA said work is under way on a "protection gap" study this year.

"Ensuring adequate protection is especially critical at a time of economic uncertainty and rapid demographic shifts in Singapore.

"Life insurers are increasingly leveraging digitalisation to innovate and respond to these fundamental changes," said Mr Teow.

The results showed that there was a rise in take-up across both single-premium and annual-premium products.

The industry posted a 30 per cent increase to $281.3 million in weighted single premiums and a 14 per cent increase to $529.7 million in weighted annual premiums.

About 20,000 Singapore residents bought additional health insurance coverage to complement MediShield Life in the first quarter of the year.

In all, new health insurance premiums totalled $66 million for the three months, of which Integrated Shield Plans (IP) premiums and IP riders accounted for 90 per cent ($59 million). The remaining $7 million was contributed by other medical plans and riders.

As at March 31 this year, 2.91 million lives (about one in every two people in Singapore) were insured.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 09, 2017, with the headline 'Life insurance business grew 19% in first quarter'. Print Edition | Subscribe