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Singapore: General insurance sector sees 37.4% jump in underwriting profit in 2014

Source: Asia Insurance Review | Apr 2015

Singapore’s general insurance industry put in a strong report card for the year ended 2014 with a 37.4% leap in underwriting profit to S$391.7 million (US$283 million). The overall loss ratio also saw a marked improvement, having narrowed to 48.4%, compared to 53.2% in 2013. Total gross premiums however, recorded a more modest growth at 1.1% to reach S$3.53 billion.
 
According to figures released by the General Insurance Association (GIA) of Singapore, the motor insurance sector performed exceptionally well, recording a 153% increase in underwriting profit to S$149.5 million. The unprecedented gain was largely attributed to adjustments to loss reserving from a few insurers, successful implementation of many initiatives aimed at enhancing claims handling protocol, as well as improved cooperation from the policyholders and authorities, said GIA.
 
The other star performer was the work injury compensation (WIC) class, which registered a 555% gain in underwriting profit to S$19.6 million. Gross premiums recorded a healthy 7.4% growth in gross to reach S$396.1 million. 
 
Profits for the personal accident class rose 34.7% to $57.7 million whilst fire insurance posted a 20% increase in underwriting profit to $42.7 million.
 
Marine cargo and hull poorest performers for 2014
Meanwhile, marine cargo and hull were the poorest performers for 2014, due to the continued decline in business which mirrored the weak performance of the global marine insurance sector. Another reason to note is that several major underwriters had shifted their portfolios to offshore insurance funds, said GIA. 
 
Cargo recorded a decrease in gross premium of 8.9% to $95.4 million, whilst underwriting profits fell 47.2% to $14 million.
For hull, gross premiums was recorded at $154.6 million, a decrease of 4.6% from 2013.
 
Commenting on the market’s overall performance, GIA President AK Cher said: “The general insurance industry was in good shape in 2014, thanks to robust y-o-y increase in underwriting profit, largely due to the surge in underwriting gains from both motor insurance and WIC insurance.”
 
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