The Life Insurance Association (LIA), Singapore has announced industry results for the full year 2021, with SG$5.38 billion in weighted new business premiums, up 23% year on year.
The association, which represents 32 life insurers and reinsurers in Singapore, noted significant growth in the uptake of single-premium products, with a 41% year-on-year increase in weighted premiums, totalling SG$2.58 billion for 2021. This was attributed to the high volume of new business during the first half of 2021, as Singapore’s economy recovered after a year of tight COVID-19 restrictions in 2020.
Annual premium product sales grew by 10%, with SG$2.80 billion in weighted annual premiums for 2021. However, annual premium product uptake dipped by 6% in the fourth quarter of 2021 compared to Q4 2020.
Total in-force annual premiums for group insurance policies grew by 20% year on year, totalling SG$1.81 billion.
LIA also observed a huge growth in policies bought online. In 2021, 591,282 policies were distributed using online channels, more than double that of 2020 with 206,679. New micro-insurance products and complimentary products covering the side effects of COVID-19 vaccination contributed to the boost in policies sold, LIA said.
While the number of policies sold more than doubled, weighted premiums grew by just 6% to SG$189 million. Despite the surge in online sales, tied representatives remained the largest distribution channel, both in terms of weighted premium (33.1%) and number of policies (35.9%).
Approximately 71% of Singapore residents – or 2.85 million lives – were protected by Integrated Shield Plans (IPs) and riders that provide coverage on top of MediShield Life. The number of Singaporeans and permanent residents covered by IPs and riders increased by almost 32,000 in 2021. Total new business premiums for individual health insurance in 2021 amounted to SG$360.2 million.
“In 2022, life insurers will continue to pursue their digitalisation plans to deliver a better customer experience from product purchase to claims submission,” said Khor Hock Seng, president of LIA Singapore. “Sustainability will remain a priority and life insurers are working closely with all stakeholders to build up a multidimensional 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.”