Industry remains focused on long-term efforts to ensure a digitally trained workforce.


Life insurance in Singapore achieves 20% growth in Q1, this year. (Credit: Life Insurance Association Singapore.)

The Life Insurance Association, Singapore (LIA Singapore) announced a set of industry results for the period January to March 2020 (1Q2020).

Singapore’s life insurance industry recorded a total of S$965.8 million in weighted new business premiums for 1Q2020, a 10 per cent increase from the same period in 2019.

Overall, single premium business recorded a 31 per cent quarter-on-quarter increase in weighted single premiums, amounting to S$293.4 million for 1Q2020, attributed to insurers’ new product launches and associated promotional activities.

a) Single premium par and non-par products comprised 73 per cent; single premium linked products made up the remaining 27 per cent

b) CPFIS-included products comprised 16 per cent; Cash-funded products took the remaining 84 per cent

Annual premium policies recorded a steady three per cent increase from the same period last year. This amounted to S$672.4 million in total weighted annual premiums.

In tandem with the growth in single and annual premium policies, total sum assured for new business rose by a strong 20 per cent quarter-on-quarter, amounting to S$34.6 billion for 1Q2020.

Mr Khor Hock Seng, President, LIA Singapore said: “The industry continues to make headway in bridging protection gaps in the first quarter as more consumers take action to secure their financial future in view of COVID-19’s drastic impact on global and local markets. However, with circuit breaker measures, climbing unemployment and an impending recession, the life insurance industry may see the knock-on effect in the coming quarters.”

“Singapore’s life insurance industry remains resilient, united, and committed to providing support for customers and our workforce during these challenging times. We will continue working closely with regulators to facilitate support measures effectively and efficiently,” he added.

Support measures provided by Singapore’s life insurance industry for customers amid COVID-19 include:

– For policyholders in financial difficulties, a grace period of up to six months to make payment on premiums if the policy premium due date or policy renewal date falls on any date between 1 April 2020 and 30 September inclusive

– Health and group insurance coverage extended to cover COVID-19 patients admitted to a Community Care Facility (CCF) or Community Recovery Facility (CRF) for up to 14 days after they are transferred there from a hospital

– Outpatient telemedicine claims covered by Integrated Shield Plans (IPs) and relevant group insurance plans during this period

Life insurance industry continues to expand and invest in ensuring a digitally-trained workforce

Employment in the life industry rose by four per cent, as a result of 359 net new hires, compared to the corresponding period in 2019. This brings Singapore’s life insurance industry’s workforce to 8,668 employees as at 31 March 2020.

In addition, 14,604 representatives held exclusive contracts with companies that operate a tied agency force within the same period.

Singapore’s life insurance industry is investing significantly in upskilling employees and financial advisers for an increasingly digitalised Singapore as we go through economic restructuring.

To remain ahead of these rapid changes, member companies are pursuing initiatives to accelerate the implementation of their digital transformation strategies. This includes upskilling employees as well as providing financial advisers with enhanced digital tools to better engage with and serve customers remotely.

Life insurers in Singapore have automated processes which enable the purchase, processing, and general servicing of accounts digitally. Member companies have also enhanced the remote working experience. These have been especially critical amid the COVID-19 pandemic and circuit breaker period.

In all these efforts, the industry is ensuring that the confidentiality and security of information is not compromised.

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

57,000 more Singaporeans and Permanent Residents were covered by IPs and riders as at 31 March 2020.  2.80 million lives – approximately 69 per cent of Singapore residents – are protected by IPs and riders, which provide coverage on top of MediShield Life.

Total new business premiums for individual health insurance for 1Q2020 amounted to S$101.8 million. Overall, IPs and IP rider premiums accounted for 87 per cent (S$88.2 million) and the remaining 13 per cent (S$13.6 million) comprised other medical plans and riders.

Slight dip in the uptake of retirement policies

While there was an increase in uptake of protection products, there was a slight four per cent decline in the uptake of retirement policies in 1Q2020 compared to the same period last year. A total of 11,713 retirement policies were purchased as at 31 March 2020.

Accounting for approximately 11 per cent of total weighted premiums for 1Q2020, retirement policies totalled S$107 million in weighted premiums for this quarter.


Product Classification

Par products accounted for 48 per cent of new sales while non-par products accounted for 32 per cent. Investment-linked products made up the remaining 20 per cent.

Distribution Channels

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

Distribution Channel By Weighted Premium (%) By Number of Policies (%)
Tied Representatives 32.5 51.6
Bank Representatives 38.6 12.9
Financial Adviser Representatives 24.0 24.8
Online Direct Channel 0.6 1.6
Others (products sold without intermediaries, e.g. DPI, ElderShield) 4.3 9.1


Product License Classification

As of 31 March 2020, insurers holding “Normal” licenses contributed 98 per cent of new sales, while the “Defined Market Segments” (DMS) insurers made up the remaining two per cent of new sales for 1Q2020.

Group Insurance: Total Annual Premiums In-Force

Total annual premiums in-force for group insurance business rose by 12 per cent compared to the same period a year ago, amounting to S$1.4 billion.   

Source: Company Press Release