In this episode, Michael Waitze talks to Walter de Oude, CEO of Singlife. The Singapore headquartered neo-insurer, valued at $360M, acquired a license from the MAS in 2017 and began selling life insurance policies after buying Zurich Insurance’s Singapore business.
Singlife closed a $90M Series C funding round on 1st July 2019. This announcement was a quick follow-up to a previous $33M capital infusion in January 2019 by Aflac Investments and Aberdeen Standard Investments. The firm has forayed beyond life insurance into health insurance and FinTech; specifically, Singlife recently launched a cancer insurance product and the SingLife account.
A quick glance of Walter’s profile reveals he isn’t your typical start-up guy rocking up with a Patagonia vest, khaki pants and Starbucks vanilla soy latte. Previously the CEO of HSBC Insurance in Singapore, Walter means serious business. He is a qualified actuary and began practice in 1995.
At the Singapore FinTech Festival, Singlife launched the Singlife account along with a Visa co-branded debit card. As Walter puts it, the Singlife account is precisely a Unit-Linked Insurance Plan (ULIP) or Investment-linked Insurance Plan (ILP). Life insurance companies, like Singlife, are money managers – the Singlife account won’t be a challenge to manage given the management team’s past experience with life insurance contracts. And the “interest on deposit” is precisely a yield which you would obtain from a ULIP contract.
What’s next for Singlife? Walter provides us with some hints during the conversation with Michael. Expansion into new geographies – Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines. Walter also suggested that SingLife is in advanced stages of acquiring an insurance licence in at least one of these countries!