The Life Insurance Association, Singapore (LIA Singapore) will close the industry-wide Deferred Premium Payment (DPP) application window on March 31.
The DPP was implemented to support policyholders that have encountered financial difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was initially opened on a six-month run that ended on September 30, 2020, and a second window was opened on October 01, 2020 and scheduled to end on March 31 this year.
In a statement, LIA Singapore said it will continue to support policyholders impacted by the pandemic, and those policyholders currently on the DPP will continue to be on the DPP scheme until their applicable end date.
If, by the end of the deferment period, the policyholder remains in financial difficulty, the LIA advises them to approach their insurer to discuss various options such as a three-month extension of the DPP or a three-month instalment payment plan.
Other policyholders facing difficulties in paying premiums should also approach their insurers to explore options, the industry body added.
According to LIA Singapore, around 41,000 DPP applications were received last year, or around 0.3% of total in-force policies as of March 31, 2020. However, take-up rates declined as time went on. From 29,000 applications in the second quarter of 2020, only 6,000 applications were filed in the fourth quarter. The decline was also noted throughout the first two months of 2021.
LIA Singapore also noted a decreasing number of policyholders unable to pay the deferred premiums by the end of their deferment period. Since October 01, 2020, there were only around 5,900 such applications, and the numbers continued to fall each month.
“Life insurers have been pro-actively implementing initiatives to support policyholders amid the pandemic,” said Khor Hock Seng, president of LIA Singapore. “At an industry level, the majority of applications for the Deferred Premium Payment scheme were accepted and the assistance provided has alleviated financial pressure for many policyholders. After March 31, 2021, life insurers remain ever ready to provide company-specific assistance, and our priority remains to ensure that policyholders are protected over the long-term.”