In 2017 Swiss Life Singapore launched a new hybrid product on the Asian market. What is the success story behind this innovative solution and how does meet the needs and challenges faced by Asian clients? Stephen Hickman, CEO, Swiss Life Singapore explains.
Can you tell us more about Gemstone?
Gemstone is a single-premium, investment-linked life insurance policy that also offers a flexible death benefit option. Responding to trends in the Asian market, the product has met clients’ needs in a rapidly growing market. Our goal is to offer innovative solutions that meet the needs of our clients and so allow us to offer our partners flexible and leading-edge high-net worth life insurance products.
How does Gemstone fit in the Global Solutions product range?
Swiss Life Singapore has two core products. Life Asset Portfolio (LAP) is a wealth structuring solution offering limited liquidity on death of up to USD50 000, and Alpha Plus 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 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 products. Swiss Life Singapore’s solutions are very much designed to meet the planning needs of the Asian market with a focus on wealth transfer. 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?
In the coming decades a high number of family owned businesses will be confronted with wealth transfer and succession needs. Entrepreneurs who have developed their own businesses will have to face the problem of transferring the ownership and management of their business to the next generation.
Their concern will be to ensure a successful transmission safeguarding the current lifestyle and financial security of the family. This process must be well planned in advance as it is a crucial step in the life of a family business. Swiss Life’s solutions have been developed to address such needs and to help family owned businesses and their advisers to put a succession plan in place providing peace of mind and allowing clients and their families to lead a self-determined life in financial confidence.
CEO - Swisslife Singapore
In the coming decades a high number of family owned businesses will be confronted to succession problems. Entrepreneurs who have developed their own businesses will have to face the problem of transferring the ownership and management of their business to the next generation. This process must be well planned in advance as it is a crucial step in the life of a family business.