Singapore's 30 largest insurance firms 2014

Regulatory changes are key concerns for insurers in 2015

The year is already shaping up to become a banner year for the insurance industry as many changes are set to unfold. For the big picture of what’s to come for the industry, Singapore Business Review gathered the insights of the country’s top insurance firms. Key areas of concern for this year are broadbased regulatory changes, as well as needed initiatives in product innovation.

Regulation still active

Although the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has already introduced gamechanging regulations, regulatory compliance, especially to certain amendments, will still play an active role this year. Among the regulations introduced by the MAS, “the Financial Advisory Industry Review (FAIR) and the Risk-Based Capital 2 Framework (RBC2) are among the most impactful regulatory changes,” says Lance Tay, CEO of Tokio Marine Life Insurance Singapore.

One of FAIR’s most important changes will be the introduction of the Web Aggregator. As a spokesperson from AXA Life Insurance Singapore explains, the Web Aggregator is a system that allows consumers to compare prices and features of Life Insurance products and Direct Purchase Insurance, and all Life Insurers in Singapore will be mandated to comply. According to AXA, changes such as the Web Aggregator “will mean changes to the life insurance landscape in Singapore.”

While the consensus seems to be that these impending regulatory changes will be major, whether they will be positive or negative remains unclear. Peter Huber, CEO of Zurich’s Life Business in Singapore, however, believes the changes to be generally positive: “Given the complexity of the financial industry, we embrace such initiatives which simplify products, enhance accessibility, reduce costs and improve services for our customers.”

Insurance firms in Singapore are just as accountable to their customers as they are to the MAS, if not more so. And for the year ahead, several professionals believe that product innovations are necessary to meet the changing tastes of potential customers.

For instance, AXA points out that consumers now prefer products with more of an investment focus, rather than a savings or protection focus. This is largely the reason why
new sales were flattish last year, according to AXA.

Despite the noted change in consumer tastes, Tay believes that focusing on protectionbased products is still immensely important. “This is because the aggregate underinsurance gap of Singaporeans is S$462 billion, and on average, the Singaporean working adult is underinsured by 3.7 times his annual income.” Indeed, the industry is expected to face demands on multiple fronts in the year ahead.

Who made it to the top 30?

AIA Singapore topped the Singapore Business Review’s ranking of largest insurance companies in the city according on their 2013 total assets. Data compiled from Monetary Authority of Singapore show that AIA Singapore, classified as composite insurer – offering both general and life insurance products – is ahead of its closest competitor NTUC Income Insurance Co-operative by 1.69b.

The Great Eastern Life Assurance Company has the highest total assets amongst all the life insurer companies and ranked third overall.

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