ICMIF member NTUC Income (Income) was incorporated 50 years ago as the first insurance cooperative in Singapore and this year the organisation celebrates its Golden Jubilee. Today, the organisation maintains the same focus as it had at the start of operations back in 1970, making insurance accessible, affordable and sustainable in Singapore.
Over the years, Income has grown to become a thriving social enterprise that now serves over two million customers with its offerings in life, health and general insurance. Besides being one of the leading composite insurers in Singapore, the organisation has also gained recognition as a digital and multichannel insurer, winning local and regional accolades for its digitalisation efforts, e-commerce prowess and product innovation capability.
Amongst insurers in Singapore, Income continues to enjoy the highest association with delivering positive social impact with products that cater to the underserved segments and is considered a socially responsible company. With its strong risk and compliance culture, Income has also established itself as a trusted financial institution amongst customers and regulators.
In its annual report for 2019, published in June 2020, the organisation says it has come a long way since its inception and that it is doing more to ensure that it continues to respond better and faster to growing competition and evolving customers’ needs, which increasingly are motivated by convenience and lifestyle habits. Income says that the digital era offers it limitless opportunities to offer insurance products in fresh and exciting ways.
As customers become more “digital-first” and their consumption patterns are increasingly lifestyle-driven, Income recognises that it must also play to consumers’ way of engaging with information and making purchases online. Last year, Income launched Online Life to offer customers the widest range of life insurance for direct purchase online, while its AI-powered life insurance digital adviser, askSage, empowers customers to self-serve financial planning conveniently.
Working together with like-minded strategic partners, Income is breaking new ground with next-generation offerings that are reimagining the way customers engage with, purchase and consume insurance, and deliver more value to its customers. Income’s efforts to provide the gig economy with adequate insurance coverage led it to develop the region’s first stackable insurance product allowing private-hire drivers to accumulate critical illness coverage as they pay micro-premiums with every ride they complete. Scaling up this novel proposition, Income launched SNACK to offer customers in Singapore – for the first time – the option of purchasing insurance by simply linking micro-premium payments to everyday activities so that obtaining insurance coverage becomes convenient and inexpensive. Income says SNACK is a game-changer for insurance in Singapore and a major step forward in plugging protection gaps by breaking down barriers to entry in the market.
More importantly, even as Income garnered these achievements, the organisation remains purposeful in making a positive social impact in the community it serves through its products, services and people. Income remains the only insurer in Singapore that offers insurance products for children and youths with Down syndrome and Autism. Income also continues to donate 1% of its insurance operating profits to champion education for youths-in-need. Members of Income’s staff spend time volunteering with diverse charities through the organisation’s annual “Income Gives Back” initiative.
In the new decade, the organisation says it will continue on the strong momentum to grow and futureproof Income, leveraging the strong foundation that it has collectively built in the past years, to serve the financial needs of generations to come.
Income outperformed the industry in 2019 with an 11% growth in weighted new business despite the life insurance industry in Singapore growing only 0.4%. Income took the lead in general insurance in Singapore last year, with motor insurance maintaining a wide lead against other insurers.
Some key highlights of Income’s business performance for the year ended 31 December 2019 include:
- Gross premiums grew 8.5% to $3.9 billion;
- Net operating surplus improved by 91.1%, ending the year at $326.1 million;
- Total assets reached all-time high at $41.9 billion.
Andrew Yeo is the Chief Executive Officer Income and also a member of the ICMIF Board of Directors. Prior to his appointment as CEO on 1 June 2019, Andrew was the General Manager of Life & Health Insurance at Income.