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Consumers able to compare life insurance products online from April 7 (Amended)

Tuesday, March 31, 2015 - 15:20
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From April 7, consumers looking to purchase life insurance products will be able to compare more than 200 products that are available on the retail market through a web portal.

FROM April 7, consumers looking to purchase life insurance products will be able to compare more than 200 products that are available on the retail market through a web portal.

Called compareFIRST, the web aggregator will allow consumers to compare the premiums and features of four classes of products.

They are: term life insurance, whole life insurance, endowment policies, as well as a new class of basic life insurance products known as direct purchase insurance (DPI).

Under the web portal, consumers will be able to compare up to four products at a time, using its drag-and-drop feature.

Information such as the product summary, the product brochure and credit rating of the insurer will be available.

Twelve life insurance companies will also start to sell the DPI, which are sold without commissions and financial advice, on April 7. This will be done either through their customer service counters or websites.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) on Tuesday said under the DPI, consumers can choose from term life insurance, whole life insurance and optional critical illness riders.

As these basic policies are sold without financial advice, there is no commission and premiums are lower.

The rollout of the web aggregator and DPI follows the acceptance of the Financial Advisory Industry Review (FAIR) panel's recommendations in 2013.

The move aims to empower consumers to make informed decisions through better access to information and it comes against the backdrop of mis-selling complaints over the years.

Said Lee Boon Ngiap, assistant managing director (capital markets) at MAS: "Buying a life insurance product is a decision for the long term. We strongly encourage consumers to use compareFIRST and assess the suitability of the various life insurance products offered by different companies before they buy a product."

compareFIRST is the world's first web aggregator by a regulator.

In advanced markets such as the United Kingdom, web aggregators are run by commercial entities and have been criticised for pushing products from selected insurers.

 

The Monetary Authority of Singapore has clarified that the web portal hosts five classes of life insurance products, of which four classes can be compared.

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