1Q2020: Singapore life insurance new business up 10% y-o-y as consumers take action in view of COVID-19

| 26 May 2020

Singapore's life insurance industry recorded a total of S$965.8 million (US$677.28 million) in weighted new business premiums for January to March this year, a 10% increase from the same period in 2019.

Mr Khor Hock Seng, LIA Singapore President, said: “The industry continues to make headway in bridging protection gaps in the first quarter as more consumers take action to secure their financial future in view of COVID-19’s drastic impact on global and local markets. However, with circuit breaker measures, climbing unemployment and an impending recession, the life insurance industry may see the knock-on effect in the coming quarters.”

Annual premium policies recorded a steady 3% increase from the same period last year. This amounted to S$672.4 million in total weighted annual premiums.

In tandem with the growth in single and annual premium policies, total sum assured for new business rose by a strong 20% quarter-on-quarter, amounting to S$34.6 billion for 1Q2020.

Mr Khor said: “Singapore’s life insurance industry remains resilient, united, and committed to providing support for customers and our workforce during these challenging times. We will continue working closely with regulators to facilitate support measures effectively and efficiently.”

Support measures provided by Singapore’s life insurance industry for customers amid COVID-19 include:

• For policyholders in financial difficulties, a grace period of up to six months to make payment on premiums if the policy premium due date or policy renewal date falls on any date between 1 April 2020 and 30 September inclusive

• Health and group insurance coverage extended to cover COVID-19 patients admitted to a Community Care Facility (CCF) or Community Recovery Facility (CRF) for up to 14 days after they are transferred there from a hospital

• Outpatient telemedicine claims covered by Integrated Shield Plans (IPs) and relevant group insurance plans during this period

Life insurance industry continues to expand and invest in ensuring a digitally-trained workforce

Employment in the life industry rose by 4%, as a result of 359 net new hires, compared to the corresponding period in 2019. This brings Singapore’s life insurance industry’s workforce to 8,668 employees as at 31 March 2020.

In addition, 14,604 representatives held exclusive contracts with companies that operate a tied agency force within the same period.

Singapore’s life insurance industry is investing significantly in upskilling employees and financial advisers for an increasingly digitalised Singapore as we go through economic restructuring.

Read also: Financial advisers seek online solutions amidst COVID-19 pandemic

To remain ahead of these rapid changes, member companies are pursuing initiatives to accelerate the implementation of their digital transformation strategies. This includes upskilling employees as well as providing financial advisers with enhanced digital tools to better engage with and serve customers remotely.

Life insurers in Singapore have automated processes which enable the purchase, processing, and general servicing of accounts digitally. Member companies have also enhanced the remote working experience. These have been especially critical amid the COVID-19 pandemic and circuit breaker period.

In all these efforts, the industry is ensuring that the confidentiality and security of information is not compromised.

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