LIFE insurance sales have clocked consistent growth in the first three quarters of the year, but the challenging economic environment might hurt the industry in the final quarter, according to the Life Insurance Association (LIA) Singapore.
In the nine months ended Sept 30, weighted new business premiums rose 10 per cent year on year to $1.61 billion; the most recent quarter alone posted new business of $562.3 million, an 8 per cent increase from a year ago.
LIA president Tan Hak Leh said yesterday: “Overall, we’ve seen consistent growth since the start of 2012. We naturally take a restrained view in our target estimates for the next quarter, in light of the forces of the economic climate.”
From July to September, weighted annual premium sales rose 18 per cent over the corresponding quarter last year to $408.6 million. However, weighted single premium sales fell 13 per cent year on year to $153.7 million.
LIA said the overall nine-month performance was driven by positive quarter-to-quarter growth in the sale of regular premium products, which grew 20 per cent to $1.16 billion from a year ago.
However, single premium business fell 10 per cent year on year to $447.3 million. Of this amount, 14 per cent were CPF-funded sales.
The steady uptrend in bank sales continued, with the bancassurance channel accounting for 37 per cent of weighted premium sales, up 2 percentage points from the same period a year ago.
Tied agents continued to be the main channel of distribution, being responsible for 44 per cent of new sales; financial advisers contributed 15 per cent of sales from January to September.
The total sum assured for new business in the nine months rose 16 per cent to $56.9 million from a year ago.
Total annual premiums in force for group insurance business rose by 10 per cent compared with a year ago, amounting to $755 million.
As at Sept 30, 2.58 million people were covered by health insurance, with paid-up premiums amounting to $972 million.
LIA said new health insurance sales increased by 12 per cent to $138 million from a year ago, of which 88 per cent went to integrated shield plans and riders.