Interview with Steve Hickman - CEO, Swiss Life Singapore

Can you tell us more about Swiss Life Singapore’s new product?
Our new product is called Gemstone and it’s a single-premium, investment-linked life insurance policy which also offers a flexible death benefit option. Responding to trends in the Asian market, the product has been crafted to meet customers’ needs in a rapidly growing market. Our goal is to stay a step ahead our competitors so Swiss Life continues to be the leading provider of high net worth life insurance solutions.


How does Gemstone fit in our Global Solutions product range?
Swiss Life Singapore has two core products. The Life Asset Portfolio (LAP) is a wealth structuring solution offering limited liquidity on death of up to USD50,000, and Alpha is a Variable Universal Life (VUL) product that can provide a high death benefit. Gemstone fits between these products as a hybrid – it can meet a client’s wealth structuring needs but also provide a flexible amount of insurance coverage.


What is the main difference between Gemstone and the other products offered?
In the past, a client with specific estate and succession planning requirements and a significant level of liquidity on death, may have had to consider two policies to meet those needs. Gemstone can provide wealth structuring options as well as an added death benefit up to 20% of the initial contribution. This additional death benefit can be modified if the policyholder’s circumstances should change over the life of the policy, making it an attractive and flexible solution.


What are the benefits and opportunities of Gemstone’s flexible approach?
Combining competitive pricing and flexible death benefit coverage, Gemstone is unique in the market. Its open architecture provides clients with investment management flexibility alongside insurance protection. Offering the choice of eight major currencies, the policyholder can also designate his own asset manager and custodian. Plus, premiums may be paid in the form of cash or by transfer of existing assets. 


How does Gemstone fit in the Asian business environment?
The high net worth sector in North and South East Asia is growing rapidly and we face tough competition from other dynamic and innovative solutions. Swiss Life Singapore’s product offering is very much designed to meet the planning needs of the Asian market. In Asia, life insurance in the high net worth segment is usually approached from only one planning angle, namely liquidity provision. We are proud to use Swiss Life’s expertise and experience to satisfy and anticipate clients’ broader needs with a truly differentiated offer.

Our business partners in the region with strong banking and wealth advisory relationships are excited about Gemstone’s innovative approach. Our continued drive to enhance and develop our products is a paramount importance in an ever-changing high net worth life insurance market. One of Swiss Life’s key strengths is the ability to develop efficient and flexible solutions to help our clients reach their wealth planning goals. 


Do you anticipate any challenges in the future?
There are many competitors following Swiss Life’s lead in providing innovative wealth planning and insurance solutions, so we must continue to hone our brand and product awareness and work closely with our business partners to offer attractive and competitive products. Gemstone is the latest jewel in the crown of Swiss Life Singapore’s offering and will help to cement our position as the leading provider of high net worth insurance solutions in the Asian market. 


Steve Hickman
CEO - Swisslife Singapore