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Old 27th March 2008, 06:42 PM   #1 (permalink)
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New motor insurance policy framework to be introduced in May

SINGAPORE: The motor insurance sector has reported a hefty loss of S$103.2 million last year, up from just S$625,000 in 2006.

This "disastrous result" has prompted the General Insurance Association (GIA) to change the motor claims insurance framework.

From May, motorists are required to report accidents to their insurance companies within 24 hours or by the next working day. This is a change from the current requirement of reporting within a "reasonable time", which is open to interpretation.

The GIA said compulsory reporting will leave less room for disputes, especially when a motorist chooses not to report the accident but the other party involved decides to file for claims at a later date.

Derek Teo, President of GIA, said: "If the motorist or policyholder fails to comply then it will be tantamount to a breach in policy conditions. When the policy condition is breached, then the policy holder is put to a disadvantage. He may find that the insurer may not want to honour the liability.

"The motorists can now go to their insurer to file a claim, and if they are not responsible for the damage themselves and they can attribute the claim to a third party, their insurer will file the claim on their behalf. Currently, this is not done."

Insurance companies will offer one-stop service from filing of claims to providing a replacement car when the damaged vehicle is being repaired at approved workshops.

GIA said each insurance company will have a list of approved workshops which meet the required service and technical standards.

"In the longer term, we will be able to build up credibility and those workshops that receive more than three complaints for poor service or unscrupulous practices may be taken off," Mr Teo said.

It is hoped that such efforts will help expedite the claiming process and reduce losses from inflated claims.

Gross insurance premiums in Singapore's general insurance sector rose 8.38 percent last year to about S$2.5 billion, but it was overshadowed by the significant underwriting loss in the business, causing profits to slump by 25 percent year on year in 2007.

The S$103.2 million deficit incurred last year was the worst for the sector since 2002. This coincided with a sharp rise in accident reports – from 129,428 in 2006 to 151,583 cases last year.

The association said there are several reasons for the spike in accident reports. Among them is an increase in the vehicle population to an all-time high of over 850,000 vehicles last year – an 8 percent climb from 2006.

Other reasons cited were greater vehicle usage and a larger number of foreigners who may be unfamiliar with the roads in Singapore.

Asked if this will translate to higher premiums for motorists, the association said premiums are expected to go up but the quantum will be decided by the companies.

On average, claims take up about 85 percent of the motor insurance premiums.

"For this to become a sustainable position, I think we are looking at an overall loss ratio of about 75 percent, which means for every dollar premium they pay, we will pay out 75 cents in claims, leaving the 25 percent for expenses incurred in delivering the product," said Mr Teo.

In other areas, GIA said Workmen's Compensation cover cut its losses by nearly half from S$13.7 million in 2006 to S$7.8 million last year.

However, the new Work Injury Compensation Act (WICA) that will be implemented this April will have some impact on the market.

The WICA Bill will expand the coverage for all employees, including non-manual employees who earn more than S$1,600 per month.

Mr Teo said: "It's likely to attract a 35 percent increase in claims cost – this is the result of a research that was done by an NTU research team for the association. With such information, it's clear that there will be increases in premiums to cope with the rising claims cost."

Overall, the association expects other business classes like personal accident, fire, and marine cargo and hull covers to continue to do well this year.



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Old 28th March 2008, 09:07 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: New motor insurance policy framework to be introduced in May

First COE is up, then more ERP, now insurance also going up. *Gulp*

Doesn't look like a good time to buy a new car.

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