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PROFESSIONAL SERVICES/LEGAL | Alpha Bierneza, Singapore
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Singapore's 50 largest insurance firms in 2017

Insurance firms play catch up with digital disruptors.

Traditional business models are transformed to address emerging needs.

The FinTech revolution has been changing the global financial services landscape, pushing insurance firms to step up to the digital dare. Executives are challenged to transform traditional business models and offer dynamic solutions to emerging needs, ranging from standalone apps to integrated services on social media.

George Kesselman, CEO and founder of Insurtech Asia, says insurers are changing their attitude to digital innovation. Such a direction has also led these companies to collaborate with startups, with NTUC and Raxel, and AXA and MyDoc as some of the recent examples of insurer-startup collaborations. Raxel’s arrival in Singapore in 2016 began with a partnership with NTUC Income, with the former providing analytics services so that NTUC may come up with more down-to-earth and customised insurance schemes.

In 2016, Singapore was introduced to its first fully direct and online life and general insurer, FWD Insurance. In September 2016, FWD announced the launch of its direct term life
insurance product with a 100% direct and digital approach that will enable people to select their cover, online or using their mobile, and receive a simplified quote in under 60 seconds. Online health insurance brokerage CXA also broke some records when it raised US$25m in a US$100m valuation. 

Emergence of InsurTech

With the rise in the number of digital disruptions and innovations, Singapore’s insurance industry also saw the emergence of InsurTech companies such as ConneXions, Shift Technology, BIMA, PolicyPal, InsBee, and UEX. These startups provide expertise and services in digital employee benefits brokerage, fraud detection, micro-insurance, digital insurance wallet, social insurance, and health insurance for expats. 

In terms of hiring, highly innovative and technology savvy employees are sought after. In a 2017 quarterly report, Hays recruitment says a customer-centric industry today will need talents who are eloquent in the languages of the digital world. Insurance companies will need to increase their investment in data analytics by hiring professionals who have been trained to understand consumer behaviour, thereby enabling insurers to tailor-fit their services to more specific client demands.

Who made it to the SBR’s list?

AIA Singapore remains on top with total assets of $37,839,527,353. Coming at a close second is NTUC Income Insurance Cooperative Limited with total assets amounting to $30,504,022,022. Transamerica Life (Bermuda) Limited made it to the top 10, edging out the previous top 10, Swiss Life Limited. AIA Singapore has introduced AIA Quality Healthcare Partners as a way to manage rising healthcare costs and ensure affordability of insurance premiums. The platform is composed of a network of over 100 trusted medical professionals, who will provide customers access to affordable, quality healthcare services. AIA Singapore has sought to make this service available through a website, an app, and appointment services for greater customer convenience.

“As a leading life insurer in Singapore, we play a vital role in addressing national issues through efforts aimed at mitigating healthcare cost inflation, keeping insurance premiums affordable, curtailing the economic burden of lifestyle diseases of an ageing population, and facilitating improvements in employee productivity levels amongst others,” says Ho Lee Yen, chief marketing officer at AIA Singapore.

For individuals, AIA Singapore also launched its AIA Vitality Weekly Challenge app to encourage clients to boost their productivity and remain active.

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