What’s Next For Digital Insurer Singlife After Its Merger With Aviva?by Fintech News Singapore January 28, 2021
2020 was a good year for Singapore’s digital life insurer Singlife. The company completed its S$3.2 billion merger deal with Aviva Singapore, the largest transaction ever in the Singaporean insurance sector. It also launched the Singlife Account, a mobile-first insurances savings account, which rapidly gained popularity and now counts almost 80,000 customers.
Moving forward, Walter de Oude, group CEO and founder of Singlife, said during a virtual conversation on Fintech Fireside Asia , that the company will build upon its new ties with Aviva to build “a homegrown, Southeast Asian, technology-enabled and customer-centric financial services company.”
In February, Singlife received a license to operate as a life insurance company in the Philippines, the first market outside of its home country where it’s venturing into.
“We obviously want to do more than what we are currently doing, and we want to do that extensively on a technology-leading, mobile-first basis,” de Oude said. He added that the merger with Aviva will provide it with “a deep, well established customer base,” allowing it to “leapfrog its strategy … hugely.”
Founded in 2014, Singlife provides digital life insurance services, initially targeting private banking customers and high net worth individuals.
In 2018, it acquired the business portfolio of Zurich Life Singapore, a deal that was followed a year later by its purchase of payment service firm Yolopay’s assets. Yolopay is the developer of Canvas, a mobile app that allows parents to control the pocket money used by their children as well as track expenditures on a prepaid card.
De Oude said at the time that Canvas would allow Singlife to “add payment functionality to its core offerings.”
In Q1 2020, it eventually launched the Singlife Account, an insurance savings plan which comes with an accompanying Visa debit card that gives customers instant access to their money and allows them to make overseas transactions without incurring foreign exchange (FX) charges.
This year, de Oude said the company will pursue cross-selling opportunities with the Aviva merger. Singlife also has plans to launch new products.
He said Singlife recently introduced Singlife Sure Invest, an investment-linked policy which has both a life insurance coverage and an investment component. Through Singlife Sure Invest, which is accessible via the Singlife App, customers invest in portfolios that are managed by Aberdeen Standard Investments. There’s no lock-in period, no withdrawal charges, and customers can start from an initial premium of S$1,000.
“From the Aviva/Singlife perspective, in 2021, it will all be about managing … and improving … the experience of all our existing customer base … [as well as] bringing them together … and consolidating them in Singapore over the next couple of months,” de Oude said. “Now we have about 100,000 Singlife customers and 1.5 million Aviva customers.”
When asked about his predictions for the insurance industry down the road, de Oude said he expects digitalization to continue taking over the sector. That being said, he believes human advisors will remain of relevance, especially for new customers.
“There’s a distinction to be made between purchasing and managing. Most people don’t open bank account on their telephones but they do manage their bank accounts on telephones,” de Oude said. “I see insurance ultimately going the same way … I don’t ever foresee that people will fully migrate to a digital buying and purchasing behavior.”
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