Life insurance industry achieves double digit growth to date with strong uptake across all product types

Singapore, 08 November 2017

The Life Insurance Association, Singapore (LIA Singapore) today announced industry results for the period January to September 2017 (YTD 3Q2017), with an 18 per cent increase in total weighted new business premiums1 amounting to S$2,747.7 million for the first three quarters of the year.

There was a strong 14 per cent increase in sum assured for new business compared to the corresponding period in 2016, totalling S$92.5 billion, attributed to an increase in uptake across both single and annual premium products.

Compared to the same period in 2016, the industry recorded:

a) a 23 per cent increase to S$900.7 million in weighted single premiums:
- Single premium par and non-par products comprised 75 per cent, the balance 25 per cent were single premium linked products
- CPFIS-included products comprised 15 per cent; Cash-funded products took the remaining 85 per cent
b) a 15 per cent increase to S$1,847.0 million in weighted annual premiums
c) a 27 per cent increase to $147 million in total weighted premiums for retirement products
 
Health insurance premiums2 totalled S$258 million for YTD 3Q2017, of which Integrated Shield Plans (IP) premiums and IP riders accounted for 91 per cent (S$234 million). The remaining nine percent (S$24 million) came from other medical plans and riders. As at 30 September 2017, 2.94 million lives, or approximately three in four Singaporeans, have an IP which provides coverage over and above the included MediShield Life component.

Notably, there was an uptake of 18,054 policies designed to provide regular payouts to policyholders during retirement years, representing a 24 per cent increase compared to the same period in 2016. Such plans accounted for approximately five per cent of the total weighted premiums for YTD 3Q2017.

Mr. Patrick Teow, President of LIA Singapore, said, “More Singaporeans are recognising the value of financial planning and insurance for their future, and this is reflected in yet another quarter of strong growth for the life insurance industry. Especially against the backdrop of Singapore’s rapidly greying population, we are heartened that Singaporeans are actively taking up insurance policies to secure steady income streams in their retirement years. Ensuring sustainable access to affordable healthcare is another key area of focus as our population continues to age.”

OTHER HIGHLIGHTS FOR YTD 3Q2017

Product Classification

Par products accounted for 50 per cent of new sales while non-par products accounted for 34 per cent. Investment-linked products made up the remaining 16 per cent.

Distribution Channels

The contribution of new business by the different channels of distribution is as follows:

Distribution channel By weighted premium (%) By number of policies (%)
Tied Representatives 36 55
Bank Representatives 40 13
Financial Adviser Representatives 19 17
Others (products sold without intermediaries, e.g. DPI, ElderShield) 5 15

Product License Classification

As at 30 September 2017, insurers holding “Normal” licenses contributed 97 per cent of new sales, while the “Defined Market Segments” (DMS) insurers3 made up the remaining three per cent of new sales for YTD 3Q2017.

Claims Payout

As at 30 September 2017, the life insurance industry paid out S$4.07 billion to policyholders and beneficiaries. Of this amount, S$3.41 billion was for policies that matured. The remaining S$657 million was for death, critical illness or disability claims.

Life insurance continues to play a key role in providing policyholders and their families with peace of mind, knowing that insurance payouts will alleviate the financial burdens arising from sickness, death, or simply, a long retirement.

Group Insurance: Total Annual Premiums Inforce

Total annual premiums in-force for group insurance business rose by 11 per cent compared to the same period a year ago, amounting to S$1.08 billion.

Assets

In strengthening Singapore’s position as one of the leading global financial hubs4, the life insurance industry manages assets of approximately S$188.2 billion, up 13 per cent compared with a year ago.

Assets of non-investment linked business accounted for S$156.2 billion, while the remaining S$32.0 billion were assets held for investment-linked business.

Manpower in the Industry

As employment in Singapore continues to grow in the finance and industry sector5, we note an eight per cent increase in the number of employed individuals within the life insurance industry in YTD 3Q2017.

7,047 individuals were employed by member companies, up from 6,540 staff in YTD 3Q2016. The industry continues to seek talent in all areas, including underwriting and specialised digital technologies.

14,790 representatives held exclusive contracts with companies that operate a tied agency force.

LOOKING FORWARD

We remain committed to providing solutions to meet Singaporeans’ protection needs and we look forward to sharing the findings from the upcoming LIA Protection Gap Study.

- End -  

Note to Editor: Industry results of YTD 3Q2017 are available at www.lia.org.sg/industry/performance

In Summary

New Business Sales (Weighted Basis) 

Comparison with Corresponding Period Jan  Sep 2017
S$

Jan – Sep 2016
S$ 

Change
Single Premium 900.7 million 730.8 million 23%
  Linked 221.6 million 158.8 million 40%
  Non-linked 679.1 million 572.0 million 19%
Annual Premium 1,847.0 million 1,600.1 million 15%
Total 2,747.7 million 2,330.9 million 18%
Comparison with Corresponding Quarter Jul  Sep 2017
S$

Jul – Sep 2016
S$

Change
Single Premium 353.4 million 232.8 million 52%
  Linked 84.1 million 61.2 million 37%
  Non-linked 269.3 million 171.6 million 57%
Annual Premium 712.3 million 575.4 million 24%
Total 1,065.7 million 808.2 million 32%
Comparison with Last Quarter Jul  Sep 2017
S$

Apr – Jun 2017
S$

Change
Single Premium 353.4 million 266.0 million 33%
  Linked 84.1 million 74.7 million 13%
  Non-linked 269.3 million 191.3 million 41%
Annual Premium 712.3 million 605.0 million 18%
Total 1,065.7 million 871.0 million 22%

1  Weighted new business premiums measures premiums collected on new policies by taking into account (1) 10 per cent of the value of single premium products, (2) all of a year’s premiums for annual premium products, and (3) adjusted value for products with premium payment durations of less than 10 years. The figure is calculated as follows: 10% Single Premium Insurance + 100% Annual Premium Insurance + Adjusted premium for Insurance with premium payment durations of less than 10 years.

The figure is calculated as follows: 10% Single Premium Insurance + 100% Annual Premium Insurance + Adjusted premium for Insurance with premium payment durations of less than 10 years. 

2   With effect from 1 January 2016, the MediShield Life premiums have been excluded from LIA statistics.

3   DMS insurers are registered by MAS to conduct only non-CPF business and with minimum policy size.

4   Singapore unveils plan to bolster its status as an Asian financial hub (30 October 2017). AsiaOne. Available at:
     http://www.asiaone.com/singapore/singapore-unveils-plan-bolster-its-status-asian-financial-hub
  

5   Overall jobless rate in Q3 nudges down to 2.1%: MOM (27 October 2017). Channel NewsAsia. Available at:
     http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/business/overall-jobless-rate-in-q3-nudges-down-to-2-1-mom-9349262