New insurer Singapore Life launches plans for wealthy

Mr Walter de Oude says the insurance industry has not kept pace with the innovation seen in other sectors.
Mr Walter de Oude says the insurance industry has not kept pace with the innovation seen in other sectors.

The new kid on the insurance block has rolled out plans such as universal life policies that target private banking customers and high-net-worth individuals.

Universal life policies are jumbo plans typically positioned as an instrument for legacy planning and wealth preservation.

Singapore Life plans to offer more products in coming weeks, such as term insurance and critical illness, via its online platform. Customers looking for such cover can register their interest at www.singlife.com for an early-bird offer.

The firm is the latest fully licensed direct life insurer to be approved by the Monetary Authority of Singapore. It is the brainchild of South African-born Walter de Oude, the firm's chief executive.

Mr de Oude, a permanent resident, was the chief executive officer of HSBC Insurance Singapore until 2014.

He says the insurance industry has not kept pace with the innovation seen in other sectors and needs to be challenged. Mr de Oude aims to take the best of insurance technology (insurtech) and provide a better customer experience while also tying up with major financial advisory firms to market its products.

"People deserve a better partner for their life insurance needs - one who can reduce the complexities in the purchase journey, and offer efficient, transparent and flexible solutions," he says.

"With our base in Asia's most sophisticated, innovative and trusted financial services centre, Singapore Life aims to bridge this gap in the industry by leveraging fintech solutions to empower people to take control of their financial future."

Mr de Oude believes the direct insurance arm will constitute 10 to 15 per cent of total retail life insurance business in the next five years, from the single low-digit level now.

In April, Singapore Life raised US$50 million (S$69 million) - the largest by a Singapore-based insurtech company - in its series A funding round. It had the support of international shareholders Credit China FinTech Holdings and IPGL. It also partnered two leading reinsurers, Munich Re Group and Pacific Life Re.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 14, 2017, with the headline 'New insurer Singapore Life launches plans for wealthy'. Print Edition | Subscribe