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Motor insurers post record underwriting profit of S$149.5m in 2014

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SINGAPORE motor insurers stayed in the black for a fourth consecutive year in 2014 and delivered a record underwriting profit of S$149.5 million, up 153 per cent from a year ago.

SINGAPORE motor insurers stayed in the black for a fourth consecutive year in 2014 and delivered a record underwriting profit of S$149.5 million, up 153 per cent from a year ago.

The General Insurance Association of Singapore (GIA) said on Thursday the "unprecedented gain" is primarily due to adjustments to loss reserving from a few insurers.

"The good motor results can be attributed to successful implementation of many initiatives aimed at enhancing claims handling protocol, cooperation from motorists in reporting and filing claims in adherence to the Motor Claims Framework, and government agencies stepping up investigation and stemming fraud claims," it said.

Along with the initiatives, incurred claims also improved, sliding 17 per cent to S$591.2 million last year from S$712.4 million in 2013.

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Still, despite the four consecutive years of growth in underwriting profit, the motor sector posted a cumulative loss of S$27 million since 2008, when it recorded a loss of S$214.1 million.

Last year, gross premiums fell 2 per cent to S$1.19 billion due to stiffer competition and fewer registration of new cars.

Loss ratio improved, sliding 9.5 percentage points to 53.9 per cent.

Overall, Singapore's domestic general insurance industry recorded a 37.4 per cent increase in underwriting profit to S$391.7 million, while loss ratio narrowed to 48.4 per cent from 53.2 per cent in the year-ago period.

Total gross premiums for the general insurance industry grew by 1.1 per cent to S$3.53 billion.

A K Cher, president of GIA, said: "The general insurance industry was in good shape in 2014, thanks to robust year-on-year increase in underwriting profit largely due to the surge in underwriting gains from both motor insurance and work injury compensation (WIC) insurance."

WIC recorded the biggest increase among all classes in underwriting profit - from S$3 million to S$19.6 million - driven largely by greater awareness and emphasis on workplace safety and health.

Gross premiums for WIC also rose 7.4 per cent to S$396.1 million.

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