Manulife Singapore’s CEO and president Annette King has stressed the opportunity for life insurers to cater for the needs of Singapore’s ageing population.
The proportion of residents aged 65 and above in Singapore increased from 7.2% in 2000 to 9.3% in 2011, according to a report released in September 2011 by Singaporean government departments.
In King’s view, this creates an opportunity for industry players. Speaking to Life Insurance International, she said: “Insurance products with savings and payout periods that cater to retirement planning hence will become increasingly important and in demand in the near future.”
With Singapore increasingly becoming an international wealth management hub, estate and succession planning is also becoming increasingly relevant for local and foreign high net worth individuals who reside there.
In Singapore, for example, the number of HNWIs is forecast to double from 64,000 in 2010 to 129,000 by 2015, according to the Julius Baer Asia Wealth Report.
Wealth management solutions
King says: “The increase of HNWIs yields opportunities for wealth management solutions. There are more opportunities for legacy and succession planning with HNW foreigners choosing to use Singapore as the centre for their wealth management.”
Although Singapore’s life insurance sector has grown in breadth and in depth over recent years and benefited from the strong economic growth and political stability, King says there is a significant gap in the country’s protection market.
According to King, the average Singaporean needs about S$495,000 of life insurance, but is covered for only one-third of that amount.
She says that nearly three-quarters, or 73 per cent, of Singaporeans are aware of the need to insure themselves, but only 48 per cent are aware of how to go about it.
King says: “Hence there is still a vast opportunity for life insurers here to educate clients, increase awareness and produce life insurance products that meet clients’ needs.”
Graham Morrall, CEO of Zurich Life Singapore, concurred with this point saying: “Many Singaporeans only have a quarter of the insurance coverage they need. Coupled with Singapore expected to have the highest concentration of wealth in APAC and the highest number of HNWI by 2017, we anticipate there will be needs of the affluent and the emerging affluent that will remain unmet.”
A country profile of the Singaporean life insurance market will be available in the August issue of Life Insurance International. This draws on a new report from the Insurance Intelligence Center: Life Insurance in Singapore, Key Trends and Opportunities to 2016.