Life insurance industry remains resilient to sustain growth in 2021 with a 23 per cent increase in weighted new business premiums

14 Feb 2022

Strong uptake of single-premium products continued

The Life Insurance Association, Singapore (LIA Singapore) today announced industry results for the period January to December 2021 (YTD 4Q2021). A total of S$5.38 billion in weighted new business premiums1 was achieved, constituting a positive 23 per cent growth compared to 2020.

Notable trends observed in 2021 include:

  • Significant increase in the uptake of single-premium products
  • Notable increase in the number of policies bought online

Robust sales of single premium products

Single-premium products recorded a 41 per cent year-on-year increase in weighted premiums amounting to S$2.58 billion for YTD 4Q2021. This stellar performance is attributed to the high volume of new business secured during the first half of 2021, riding on the recovery of Singapore’s economy after a year of tighter COVID-19 restrictions in 2020.

a. Single-premium par and non-par products comprised 83 per cent of all single-premium purchases; single-premium linked products made up the remaining 17 per cent.

b. CPFIS-included products comprised seven per cent; and cash-funded products accounted for 93 per cent.

Stable uptake of annual premium products

Purchase of annual premium products went up by 10 per cent, amounting to S$2.80 billion in weighted annual premiums for YTD 4Q2021. This was achieved despite a slight dip of six per cent in growth for 4Q2021 compared to the corresponding quarter in 2020.

Sustained growth of group insurance products

Total in-force annual premiums for the group insurance business2 rose by 20 per cent compared to the same period a year ago, totalling S$1.81 billion.

Growth in number of policies purchased online

The number of new policies purchased online recorded a two-fold increase to 591,282 in YTD 4Q2021 compared to 206,679 in 2020. These are purchases transacted online by customers without financial advisory. New micro-insurance products and complimentary products covering the side effects of COVID-19 vaccination contributed to the large increases in the policy count observed.

These online purchases totalled S$189m in weighted premium for the year, recording a six per cent improvement over the last year.

Integrated Shield Plans (IPs) remained a major health insurance product

Nearly thirty-two thousand more Singaporeans and Permanent Residents were covered by IPs and riders as at 31 December 2021.  2.85 million lives – approximately 71 per cent of Singapore residents – are protected by IPs and riders which provide coverage on top of MediShield Life.

Total new business premiums3 for individual health insurance for YTD 4Q2021 amounted to S$360.2 million. Overall, IPs and IP rider premiums accounted for 83 per cent (S$298.6 million) and the remaining 17 per cent (S$61.6 million) comprised other medical plans and riders.

Rebound of retirement policies

In terms of policy count, there was a three per cent increase in the uptake of retirement policies in YTD4Q2021 compared to the same period in 2020. A total of 40,395 retirement policies4 were purchased as at 31 December 2021. However, the rebound falls short of the 51,040 policies purchased pre-COVID in YTD 4Q2019.

Accounting for approximately seven per cent of total weighted premiums for YTD 4Q2021, retirement policies totalled S$368.4 million in weighted premiums for the year.

OTHER HIGHLIGHTS FOR YTD 4Q2021

Product classification

Par products accounted for 43 per cent of new sales while non-par products accounted for 31 per cent. Investment-linked products made up the remaining 26 per cent.

Distribution channels

New business received from the various channels is as follows:

Distribution Channel By Weighted Premium (%) By Number of Policies (%)
Tied Representatives 33.1 35.9
Bank Representatives 32.1 6.9
Financial Adviser Representatives5 28.8 22.0
Online Direct Channel6 3.5 32.2
Others (products sold without intermediaries, e.g. ElderShield) 2.5 3.0

Product license classification

As at 31 December 2021, insurers holding “Normal” licenses contributed 98 per cent of new sales, while “Defined Market Segments” (DMS) insurers7 made up the remaining two per cent of new sales for YTD 4Q2021.

Manpower in the industry

Employment in the life industry dipped slightly to 8,675 employees as at 31 December 2021 compared to the corresponding period in 2020. In the same period, 14,960 representatives held exclusive contracts with companies that operate a tied-agency force.  

 

LOOKING FORWARD

Mr Khor Hock Seng, President, LIA Singapore, said, “In 2022, life insurers will continue to pursue their digitalisation plans to deliver a better customer experience from product purchase to claims submission.”

“Sustainability will remain a priority and life insurers are working closely with all stakeholders to build up a multi-dimensional capacity in ESG for green investments and life insurance products to become common place over the next decade.”

“Workforce transformation is crucial to achieving these two key pillars and life insurers will continue to invest in upskilling employees as well as attracting talent in the digital and sustainability space.”

– End –

Note to Editor: Details of the life insurance industry results for YTD 4Q2021 are available at https://www.lia.org.sg/news-room/industry-performance/

 

In Summary

New Business Sales (Weighted Basis)

Comparison with Corresponding Period

Jan – Dec 2021
S$

Jan – Dec 2020
S$

Change
Single Premium 2,581.6 million 1,835.6 million 41%
  Linked 433.7 million 365.4 million 19%
  Non-linked 2,147.9 million 1,470.2 million 46%
Annual Premium 2,799.1 million 2,547.5 million 10%
Total 5,380.7 million 4,383.1 million

23%

Comparison with Corresponding Quarter 

Oct – Dec 2021 
S$

Oct – Dec 2020
S$

Change
Single Premium 547.4 million 624.7 million -12%
  Linked 103.8 million 83.0 million 25%
  Non-linked 443.6 million 541.7 million -18%
Annual Premium 726.7 million 772.8 million -6%
Total 1,274.1 million 1,397.5 million

-9%

Comparison with Last Quarter 

Oct – Dec 2021 
S$

Jul  Sep 2021 
S$

Change
Single Premium 547.4 million 752.9 million -27%
  Linked 103.8 million 122.1 million -15%
  Non-linked 443.6 million 630.8 million -30%
Annual Premium 726.7 million 675.2 million 8%
Total 1,274.1 million 1,428.1 million

-11%

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 January 2021, data reported includes premiums from the Dependants’ Protection Scheme (DPS). Great Eastern Life is sole insurer appointed by the Government to manage the DPS. It is being managed as a group scheme.

3 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.

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

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

6 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”.

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

 

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
Tel: +65 6213 6986 / +65 9739 9863
Email: [email protected]

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