The life insurance industry in Singapore saw a 22% y-o-y increase in sales of single premium products, totalling S$204.4 million (US$153.6 million) for the first three months of this year, according to the Life Insurance Association, Singapore (LIA Singapore).
In the first quarter of 2015, the total sum assured for new business saw a 4% increase, totalling SS$19.9 billion compared to the corresponding period in 2014. In the same period, the industry achieved a total of S$649.4 million in weighted new business premiums, a marginal 1% dip compared to the first quarter of 2014.
In health insurance, approximately one in two individuals in Singapore (2.78 million lives) had health cover with total premiums amounting to S$1.62 billion as at 31 March 2015.
Par products accounted for 55% of new sales while non-par products accounted for 25% in 1Q. Investment-linked products made up the remaining 20%. The variation of figures remains consistent.
Total annual premiums in force for group insurance business rose by 7% in 1Q compared with a year ago, amounting to S$930 million.
Dr Khoo Kah Siang, President of LIA Singapore said that LIA Singapore’s priority is preparing for the smooth implementation this year of MediShield Life, which is an enhanced national health insurance scheme that also covers those who may already have a serious medical condition.
Under it, claim limits are higher and co-insurance rates expected to be lower. The association will work closely with the government to further improve public education on health insurance and how MediShield Life and Integrated Shield Plans (IPs) work, and their relationship with one another. IPs are provided by private insurers and integrated with the government’s national medical insurance scheme to form a single integrated plan which offers additional benefits and coverage.
Commission-free Direct Purchase Insurance
On the Direct Purchase Insurance (DPI) scheme which started on 7 April, Dr Khoo said that it is still early days to be able to tell how many DPI enquiries have translated into actual purchases. He said that the data reflect that most sales were still done through traditional channels and that consumers still wanted to have advice in the few weeks since the scheme was launched.
DPI is a class of simple life insurance products that is sold without commissions and financial advice. The products can be bought at customer service counters or on the websites of life insurance companies. Their premiums are lower than comparable life insurance products.