SINGAPORE: Insurance sector recorded 'stable growth' before coronavirus outbreak.

As published on internationalinvestment.net, Tuesday 24 March, 2020.

The General Insurance Association of Singapore (GIA) today announced that the sector achieved stable growth with 7.6% annual growth in gross written premiums, totalling S$4.10bn at the end of 2019.

The sector has reported it paid out 12.2%, or S$159m, more in insurance claims in 2019, which contributed to the sector recording an underwriting loss of S$28 million. The top five segments, which represent 70% of the general insurance market, recorded a combined underwriting loss of S$43.4m.

The GIA undertook several key developments in 2019 to mitigate claims cost inflation and manage evolving risks. This includes launching the GIA Insurance Fraud Tip-off (GIFT) reward scheme to combat insurance fraud, starting developmental work on the new GIA Easy Accident Reporting System (GEARS), and advancing sector engagements with key stakeholders such as the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and Singapore's Life Insurance Association (LIA).

Craig Ellis, GIA president, said, "The start of 2020 saw an unexpected turn of events - a new decade begins with an emergence of a new global risk. Threats of COVID-19 have unsettled the world and have sent businesses reeling from its impact. As a sector, we are determined to overcome this unprecedented challenge together and will be doubling up our efforts in supporting the community, our members, partners and all stakeholders.

"At the core of everything we do, we will ensure that general insurance protection remains accessible for everyone."
Ellis added: "Notwithstanding it all, one of the key focuses for GIA this year, is to leverage the success of our insurance fraud prevention initiatives to form a new Centralised Investigation Bureau. We are also well prepared to support recent regulatory developments such as the new Work Injury Compensation Act (WICA), and will be driving innovative changes for the sector through the newly formed Market Development Committee.

"Together with the newly elected GIA Management Committee, we hope to bring fresh changes to the sector, continue to strengthen our collaboration and support each other so as to ride out the near-term uncertainties together."

Health cover
Health insurance, now the second largest general insurance segment in Singapore, saw a narrowing of underwriting loss to S$11.2 million in 2019, improving by approximately 75% from the underwriting loss of S$44.2m in 2018.

Last year also saw a continuation of the upward claims trend with an 8.1%, or S$22.6 million, increase in total claims pay-out for policyholders requiring medical treatments. Gross written premiums increased to S$666.8m.

The Association continues to work with stakeholders including LIA Singapore and the Ministry of Health (MoH) to implement recommendations to better manage rising healthcare costs for the long term.

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