Singapore’s life insurance industry saw total weighted new business premiums in the first half of 2013 grow by 24% over the same period last year, driven by "healthy sales" across all product lines.
The Southeast Asian city-state’s insurance industry saw new business premiums total S$1.3bn ($1.03bn/£664,800), compared with S$1.05bn in the first half of 2012.
Regular premium products were particularly strong, totalling S$983.8m for the first half of 2013 – up 31% over the same period in 2012, according to the Life Insurance Association of Singapore.
Of the S$314.2m in weighted single premium sales realised in the period, sales made under the auspices of Singapore’s Central Provident Fund (CPF) – a government scheme aimed at encouraging Singaporeans to save for their retirement – accounted for 18%, the association said.
Growth also remained consistent in the defined market segment (DMS) of Singapore’s insurance industry. In the six months to the end of June, this segment accounted for 5% of sales. The DMS caters for a high net worth market that is defined by a minimum premium size and comprises six companies, including Friends Provident, Royal Skandia and Zurich International. Its members are not permitted, under their licences, to handle CPF business.
According to the association, companies with “normal” licenses generated the remaining 95% of sales.
Health insurance boom
New health insurance premiums shot up by 126% in the first half to S$191m compared to the same period last year. Most of this amount – 94% – went to so-called “integrated shield plans and riders”, according to the LIA.
LIA president Annette King noted that the data released today indicated healthy sales across all product lines.
“This reflects an improved economic outlook, which we hope will continue into the next two quarters,” she said. King added that, looking forward, the LIA saw opportunities in areas such as health and retirement planning.
Other key points contained in the LIA data for first half 2013:
- The total sum assured for new business increased by 1% to reach $37bn for the first half of 2013
- Tied agents continue to be one of the main channels of distribution for new business. By policy count and weighted premiums, tied agents contributed 60% and 42% of the business respectively
- Banks continued to dominate the distribution of insurance products as well, accounting for 36% of weighted premium sales and 15% of the total number of policies sold
- Financial advisers contributed 17% of sales (a gain of 1% on the first three months of this year), while other channels, including direct sales, made up the remaining 83%
- By policy count, financial advisers accounted for 12% of the business and the other channels handled the remaining 88%