Spillover insurance sales surge to NT$368 million

‘WIN-WIN’::While the profitability of the new products is unknown, Cathay Life said that it expects to see the claim rate drop as policyholders will remain healthier

By Kao Shih-ching  /  Staff reporter

Fri, Nov 08, 2019 - Page 11

Sales of spillover insurance in the first nine months of this year surged 16 times from a year earlier to NT$368.62 million (US$12.12 million) as consumers embraced the products, which give them rewards when they exercise, the Financial Supervisory Commission said on Tuesday.

The number of spillover insurance policies sold from January to September totaled 28,383, 8.4 times higher year-on-year, the commission said.

There are 23 spillover insurance products on the market offered by eight life insurers as of the end of September, Insurance Bureau Deputy Director-General Chang Yu-hui (張玉輝) said.

Cathay Life Insurance Co’s (國泰人壽) two policies, which offer rewards to policyholders if they walk at least 7,500 steps per day, were the top two in terms of sales and generated first-year premiums of NT$199 million in the first nine months, he said.

Nan Shan Life Insurance Co’s (南山人壽) sole product, which encourages policyholders to undergo routine health examinations and stay fit by offering better medical coverage, ranked third with first-year premiums of about NT$60 million over the same period, he added.

Spillover insurance policies, which were introduced in Taiwan in 2016, have become more popular among consumers, who have found the benefits offered by insurance companies attractive, Chang said.

“Walker insurance” policies, which give bonuses to policyholders for walking enough, reported the most rapid growth, with the number sold growing from 488 last year to 11,650 this year and the first-year premiums rising from NT$9.88 million to NT$288 million, he said.

They were followed by products that give policyholders benefits for undergoing health examinations, of which 16,732 were sold in the nine-month period with sales of NT$79.75 million, increases of 6.6 times and 7.3 times respectively from a year earlier, he added.

“The walker insurance policies were the best-selling, as they provide policyholders a clear goal on how many steps to walk, as well as a strong incentive to do so,” Cathay Life executive vice president Winnie Fan (范千惠) told the Taipei Times by telephone on Wednesday.

Cathay Life increases its coverage if a policyholder walks more than 7,500 steps daily for 21 days in a month, Fan said.

If a policyholder meets the goals for 12 months in two years, they would see their coverage raised by 3 percent free of charge, she said.

This means they might gain compensation of up to NT$1.03 million, even though their original coverage limit is NT$1 million, she added.

The insurer also provides a discount if consumers buy the products with their colleagues or family members, so they can encourage each other to walk routinely, Fan said, adding that the company launched an app named Cathay Walker to help policyholders calculate their steps.

While it remains unknown how profitable spillover insurance products will be, as they were just launched, Cathay Life said that it expects to see the claim rate drop, as policyholders remain healthier when they walk enough.

“We expect to see a win-win situation,” the insurer said.