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Singapore's life insurance new sales up in Q2 and H1 2017

Monday, August 7, 2017 - 16:50

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The life insurance industry in Singapore continued on a momentum of strong growth in the second quarter of this year, lifted by an increase in sales of annual-premium products.

THE life insurance industry in Singapore continued on a momentum of strong growth in the second quarter of this year, lifted by an increase in sales of annual-premium products.

Total weighted new business sales for the three months as at end-June came in 3 per cent higher at S$871 million.

The 7 per cent growth in weighted new sales of annual-premium products to S$605 million was partly offset by the 6 per cent dip in weighted new sales of single-premium policies to S$266 million.

Of the single-premium sales, weighted new sales of single premium linked-products jumped 44 per cent to S$74.7 million but the growth was offset by the 17 per cent fall in non-linked plans to S$191.3 million.

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For the first six months of the year, total weighted new sales grew 10 per cent year on year to S$1.7 billion, despite economic uncertainties, an ageing population and a soft labour market.

Health insurance premiums totalled S$154 million in the first half of 2017, of which Integrated Shield Plan (IP) premiums and IP riders made up 90 per cent. The remaining balance came from other medical plans and riders.

The Life Insurance Association Singapore (LIA) said on Monday that 2.92 million lives or about one in two individuals here were insured with IPs as at end-June.

In H1 2017, there was an uptake of 10,680 policies that provide regular payouts to policyholders during retirement years, with about S$84 million weighted new premiums recorded. These plans accounted for about 5 per cent of total weighted premiums in the first half.

By distribution channel, banks continued to dominate in the first half of 2017 by contributing 43 per cent of new sales weighted premiums, up from 41 per cent a year ago. Tied agents followed at 35 per cent, down from 36 per cent in H1 2016, and financial advisers accounted for 18 per cent, a touch down from 19 per cent in the year-ago period. The remaining 4 per cent came from products sold without intermediaries, including direct purchase insurance and ElderShield.

LIA said total annual premiums in force for group insurance business in Q2 rose 7 per cent year on year to S$1.05 billion.

Said Patrick Teow, president of LIA: "We see a steady take-up of products designed to provide regular payouts from retirement age. This shows that people are appreciating the importance of preparing ahead for their future years."

The protection gap study the association is now working on is expected to be released before 2018, he said, adding that "some announcements" on the recommendations of the Health Insurance Task Force would be made known later this year. Improvements to the benefit illustration of participating policies would also be rolled out by mid-2018.

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