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New business insurance premiums hit all time high of S$4.09b in 2017: LIA

THE total value of weighted new business insurance premiums in Singapore reached S$4.09 billion in 2017; a new high for the nation's life insurance industry, according to The Life Insurance Association (LIA) in Singapore.

This represented a 24 per cent increase compared to the same period in 2016, affirming the insurance industry's outstanding progress in the past 12 months, the non-profit trade body for life insurance product providers and life reinsurance providers based in Singapore said in a release on Friday.

Among the range of insurance products, weighted single premiums rose 43 per cent to reach S$1,463.9 million in 2017.

Some 73 per cent of these were single premium par and non-par products, while 27 per cent were single premium linked products. Additionally, 86 per cent of such products were cash-funded, while 14 per cent were CPF Investment Scheme (CPFIS) included products.

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LIA noted that in the fourth quarter of 2017, there was a 91 per cent increase in the uptake of single premium products, when compared to the year ago period. The total S$563.2 million recorded within the three months account for 38 per cent of the entire year's figure.

The total sum assured for first-time insurance product owners also rose in 2017, with a 12 per cent increase year on year to S$130.5 billion. This continues the upward trend for total sum assured, which has been present since 2014.

With regard to insurance payouts, the life insurance industry paid out S$5.82 billion to policyholders and beneficiaries as at Dec 31, 2017.

Of this amount, S$4.93 billion was for policies that matured, with the remaining S$884 million for death, critical illness, or disability claims, the association said.

Additionally, the industry saw a 27 per cent increase (25,775) in the uptake of insurance policies designed to provide regular payouts to policyholders during their retirement years, in 2017.

Such plans account for about 5 per cent of the total weighted premiums for the fourth quarter.

The value of health insurance premiums totalled S$374 million for the fourth quarter, of which Integrated Shield Plans (IP) premiums and IP riders accounted for 91 per cent (S$341 million). The remaining 9 per cent (S$33 million) came from other medical plans and riders.

As at Dec 31, 2017, 2.96 million lives, or about three in four Singaporeans have an IP which provides coverage over and above the component included in MediShield Life.

Said Patrick Teow, president of LIA Singapore: "In addition to remarkable growth achieved in 2017, we are also heartened by steady progress being made to ensure that healthcare remains affordable for Singaporeans."

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