Strong 61 percent growth of life insurance sales in 1H 2021 as consumers adapt to COVID-19 environment

12 Aug 2021

Single-premium products continue to drive growth; More new policies purchased online.

The Life Insurance Association, Singapore (LIA Singapore) today announced industry results for the period January to June 2021 (1H2021). A total of S$2.68 billion in weighted new business premiums1 was achieved, a strong 61 per cent growth compared to 1H2020.

As a recap, during the same period last year, sales were at depressed levels due to the COVID-19 circuit breaker measures, which included the prohibition of face-to-face physical meetings.

Mr Khor Hock Seng, President, LIA Singapore, said, “The strong showing of business results seen in the life insurance industry in the first half of this year reflects a level of stabilisation of Singapore’s economy from the immediate impact of COVID-19 in 1H2020. The growth in uptake of life insurance also seems to show that more people are placing greater importance on providing for their long-term financial and healthcare needs in the midst of an evolving pandemic environment.”

Significant uptake of single-premium products

Single-premium products recorded a 106 per cent year-on-year increase in weighted premiums amounting to S$1.28 billion for 1H2021.

a. Single-premium par and non-par products comprised 84 per cent of all single-premium purchases; single-premium linked products made up the remaining 16 per cent.

b. CPFIS-included products comprised eight per cent; and cash-funded products accounted for the remaining 92 per cent.

Strong uptake of annual premium products

Annual premium products recorded an increased uptake of 35 per cent from the same period last year, amounting to S$1.40 billion in weighted annual premiums.

Significant growth in number of policies purchased online

The number of new policies purchased online continues to increase to 203,351 in 1H2021 compared to 32,952 in 1H2020. These are purchases transacted online by customers without financial advisory.

Integrated Shield Plans (IPs) remain a significant component of health insurance

Forty-three thousand more Singaporeans and Permanent Residents were covered by IPs and riders as at 30 June 2021. 2.85 million lives – approximately 70 per cent of Singapore residents – are protected by IPs and riders, which provide coverage on top of MediShield Life.

Total new business premiums2 for individual health insurance for 1H2021 amounted to S$176.8 million. Overall, IPs and IP rider premiums accounted for 82 per cent (S$144.7 million) and the remaining 18 per cent (S$32.1 million) comprised other medical plans and riders.

Recovery in uptake of retirement policies

In terms of policy count, there was a 34 per cent increase in the uptake of retirement policies in 1H2021 compared to the same period last year. A total of 22,137 retirement policies3 were purchased as at 30 June 2021.

Accounting for approximately seven per cent of total weighted premiums for 1H2021, retirement policies totalled S$198.2 million in weighted premiums for the first six months of 2021.

OTHER HIGHLIGHTS FOR 1H2021

Product Classification

Par products accounted for 46 per cent of new sales while non-par products accounted for 32 per cent. Investment-linked products made up the remaining 22 per cent.

Distribution Channels

New business from the different channels is as follows:

Distribution Channel By Weighted Premium (%) By Number of Policies (%)
Tied Representatives 31.9 38.6
Bank Representatives 32.9 7.7
Financial Adviser Representatives4 28.4 25.4
Online Direct Channel5 3.9 24.2
Others (products sold without intermediaries, e.g. ElderShield) 2.9 4.1

Product License Classification

As at 30 June 2021, insurers holding “Normal” licenses contributed 98 per cent of new sales, while “Defined Market Segments” (DMS) insurers6 made up the remaining two per cent of new sales for 1H2021.

Total group insurance premiums in-force

Total in-force annual premiums for group insurance business rose by 20 per cent compared to the same period a year ago, totalling S$1.75 billion.  

Manpower in the industry

Employment in the life industry dipped slightly compared to the corresponding period in 2020. This brings Singapore life insurance industry’s workforce to 8,589 employees as at 30 June 2021. In the same period, 14,893 representatives held exclusive contracts with companies that operate a tied-agency force.  

 

LOOKING FORWARD

Mr Khor Hock Seng, President, LIA Singapore, said, “The life insurance industry will continue to focus on meeting our sustainability (ESG) commitments and workforce transformation goals for the year ahead.”

“The LIA, as a Strategic Partner of the Green Finance Industry Taskforce (GFIT), is working together with the general insurance and reinsurance sectors to build the industry’s capacity for the progressive adoption of local best practices and international standards. We are also working on industry initiatives to future-proof our workforce as technology and digital tools impact the way we do our jobs.”

– End –

Note to Editor: More details of the life insurance industry results for 1H2021 available at https://www.lia.org.sg/news-room/industry-performance/

 

In Summary

New Business Sales (Weighted Basis)

Comparison with Corresponding Period

Jan  Jun 2021 
S$

Jan – Jun 2020
S$

Change
Single Premium 1,281.4 million 622.9 million 106%
  Linked 207.8 million 158.1 million 31%
  Non-linked 1,073.6 million 464.8 million 131%
Annual Premium 1,397.2 million 1,038.0 million 35%
Total 2,678.6 million 1,660.9 million

61%

Comparison with Corresponding Quarter 

Apr  Jun 2021 
S$

Apr – Jun 2020
S$

Change
Single Premium 742.2 million 329.5 million 125%
  Linked 101.1 million 79.6 million 27%
  Non-linked 641.1 million 249.9 million 157%
Annual Premium 704.4 million 365.6 million 93%
Total 1,446.6 million 695.1 million

108%

 

Comparison with Last Quarter 

Apr  Jun 2021 
S$

Jan – Mar 2021
S$

Change
Single Premium 742.2 million 541.6 million 37%
  Linked 101.1 million 109.1 million -7%
  Non-linked 641.1 million 432.5 million 48%
Annual Premium 704.4 million 692.8 million7 2%
Total 1,446.6 million 1,234.4 million8

17%

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.

2 With effect from 1 January 2016, MediShield Life premiums have been excluded from LIA statistics. New Business premiums refer to the premium due to the new business sold in the year, as well as incremental premiums from any repricing of plans, and change in age-band of the insureds.

3 These policies are designed to provide regular payouts during policyholders’ retirement years.

4 Financial Adviser (FA) Representatives include representatives of “related FA firms”. A related FA firm is a wholly-owned subsidiary of an insurance company.

5 Online Direct Channel is a new data point from January 2019, and it refers to “any web portal or application in the internet created, developed and maintained or operated by a life insurer, on which a client may purchase a life policy”.

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

7 Updated, due to revisions made after release of Q1 results

8 Updated, due to revisions made after release of Q1 results

 

Life Insurance Association, Singapore (LIA Singapore)

Established in 1962, the Life Insurance Association, Singapore (LIA Singapore) is the not-for-profit trade body of life insurance product providers and life reinsurance providers based in Singapore and licensed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

Vision and Mission

The vision of member companies is to provide individuals with peace of mind and to promote a society where every person is prepared for life’s changing cycles and for those situations unforeseen.

They are committed to being a progressive life insurance industry by collectively enhancing consumer understanding, promoting industry best practices, and through the association fostering a spirit of collaboration and mutual respect with government and business leaders.

Values underpinning the association and its members

Unified

in our resolve to deliver innovative solutions where every individual’s needs are best met.

Professional

in the way we conduct ourselves and in the counsel we give.

Ethical 

in ensuring our policyholders’ interests are managed with utmost integrity.

Fair        

in how we strive to provide favourable outcomes to both our policyholders and shareholders.

Open & honest

in all that we do to build an environment of trust and transparency.

Proactive

in the steps we take to give our people the skills and knowledge to provide sound solutions at all times.

For more information, please contact:

Pauline Lim (Ms.)
Executive Director, LIA Singapore
Email : [email protected]

Louise Lam (Ms.)
Ogilvy Singapore
Email: [email protected]

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