System to help agents hone digital skills
The Thai Life Assurance Association (TLAA) is developing an e-examination and online learning system to help insurance agents refine their digital skills and survive in the era of social distancing.
Sara Lamsam, president of TLAA, said the association is maintaining its growth target for the industry in a range of -1% to 1% and expects to record total premiums received worth 590-610 billion baht, assuming the country's GDP growth is 1.5-2.5%.
Mr Sara said even though the industry grew by 3.13% year-on-year in the first half this year, first-year premiums from new regular customers (non-single premiums) dropped by 7.52% compared with the same period last year.
In the first half, total premiums received stood at 295 billion baht, up 3.13%, spurred by growth in new business premiums worth 83.8 billion and renewal premiums worth 211 billion.
The persistency rate was 81%.
"The growth of new business premiums was helped by a 42.3% increase in single premiums from the bancassurance sales channel," he said.
"In contrast, first-year premium sales dropped from both agents and bank branches."
Mr Sara said the decline in first-year premiums reflects the impact of the pandemic and social distancing measures as many agents were unable to develop their skills to adjust to digital sales channels.
"We need to reskill our agents to help them survive in this era in which technology and digital tools are vital," he said.
At the end of June, sales through insurance agents still contributed the largest portion of sales at 48.4%, followed by bancassurance at 42.1%.
Ordinary premiums by product type, which contributed 61.4% of total premiums, shrank by 3.36%, led by term life insurance, whole life insurance, and endowment insurance, which fell by 10.1%, 5.63%, and 2.26%, respectively.
Premiums from rider protection also rose by 7.27%, spurred by increases in health insurance that grew 7.38%, critical illness rider protection that grew 8.73%, and other rider protection that grew 45%.
Premiums from personal accident rider protection fell by 4.36% because of a decline in transport during the pandemic.
However, the upside from rider protection did not help the industry much as total premiums from rider protection contribute only 9.75% of total premiums received, said Mr Sara.