US insurer Aflac takes US$20m minority stake in insurtech Singapore Life

US insurer Aflac takes US$20m minority stake in insurtech Singapore Life

3 -min read
Listen to this article
3 -min read
Listen to this article

FINTECH Singapore Life has found a new investor in US insurer Aflac, which invested US$20 million for a minority equity stake, Singapore Life told The Business Times on Monday.

This brings the current valuation of Singapore Life – an online-only insurance firm – to more than US$200 million, said Walter de Oude, CEO of Singapore Life, in response to queries from BT. Singapore Life did not disclose the size of the minority stake.

To add, Aflac – an insurer listed on the New York Stock Exchange – will partner with Singapore Life via a reinsurance agreement on certain protection products. The partnership will be with Aflac’s operating subsidiary, American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus.

Mr de Oude added that Singapore Life would be able to work with Aflac, given its “leadership in the areas of cancer insurance and other supplemental medical policies”.

According to Aflac’s corporate profile, the insurer is the leading provider of medical and cancer insurance in Japan, and insures one in four households there. The Fortune 500 company is also the market leader in voluntary insurance sales at the worksite in the US, it said.

In a media statement sent to BT, Aflac’s chief financial officer Frederick Crawford said that Aflac would work closely with Singapore Life’s management team to better understand other South-east Asian markets for potential growth opportunities.

“This strategic investment and partnership with Singapore Life serves as a good example of Aflac’s strategy to leverage digital technology to enter new markets or lines of business in a measured approach with limited capital at risk,” he said.

Mr de Oude said that the latest move to include a number of strategic investors as minority shareholders is to provide additional diversity in the capital base, significant “capital depth”, as well as to build strategic skillsets.

The latest investor in Singapore Life joins British tycoon Michael Spencer in tapping into the growth potential in an online-only insurance outfit, as the insurtech trend hots up.

In December 2018, Mr Spencer – known for making his fortunes from setting up UK broker Nex Group – bought a controlling stake in Singapore Life, bringing its total holdings to about 60 per cent then.

His move to bump up his existing stake in Singapore Life by about 30 per cent through a purchase from a Hong Kong-based financial group, valued Singapore Life at US$156 million then.

Singapore Life at the start of 2018 acquired the business portfolio of Zurich Life Singapore, taking over all the policies of Zurich Life Singapore's customers. The portfolio amounted to about S$6 billion in coverage for life, critical illness and disability benefits.