New Market Report Now Available: Singapore Insurance Report Q1 2014

From: Fast Market Research, Inc.
Published: Thu Jan 09 2014

Conventional wisdom might suggest that Singapore's insurance segment is mature. In practice, substantial opportunities for growth remain - especially in the sophisticated life segment and in offshore property & casualty reinsurance.

Key Insights And Key Risks

As of late 2013, BMI's view of Singapore's insurance segment is broadly the same as it was one year ago -or five. In world terms, Singapore ranks as a medium-sized market for insurance that, in spite of being well developed by most metrics, will likely grow quite rapidly during the forecast period. There are essentially three components to the sector. The first is a mature domestic non-life business - the Singapore insurance funds - in which premiums are growing at single digit rates. The second is a rapidly developing offshore non-life insurance business. The non-life insurers who are operating in/through Singapore are significant beneficiaries of the overall economic growth of South East Asia. The third is the dynamic life insurance segment, which has much in common with its counterpart in Hong Kong.

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In both city-states, life insurance premiums continue to grow strongly thanks to 'demand-related' and 'supply-related' factors. High income levels, high savings rates, widespread understanding of the benefits of life insurance, and low interest rates from bank deposits, all ensure that the demand for life insurance products continues to flourish. The importance of both Hong Kong and Singapore as regional business centres also underpins demand for group life products. Supply comes mainly from the local subsidiaries of world-class multi-national insurance companies. In both cases, the leading player is the subsidiary of a leading local commercial bank - HSBC Insurance in the case of Hong Kong and OCBC's Great Eastern in the case of Singapore. However, although both HSBC Insurance and Great Eastern would rank as extremely substantial life insurers in any market, they do not exercise crushing domination of their respective life segments. There remains the opportunity for other life companies to develop businesses through the introduction of innovative new products and/or focused distribution strategies.

The life insurance companies that have commented on their results in 2012-13 have indicated that there have been a number of growth drivers. Bancassurance is expanding very rapidly. Many of the insurers are enlarging their agency forces - or are taking steps to boost agent productivity. Some of the players are introducing innovative new products. Group life products have been becoming more popular. For promoters of unit-linked products, volatility in global financial markets is more of a challenge than it was when we last reviewed Singapore's insurance sector three months ago. Over the long-term, the insurers have to also deal with low/falling interest rates.

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You may also be interested in these related reports:

- India Insurance Report Q1 2014
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- Hong Kong Insurance Report Q1 2014
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