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!
Other companies mentioned in this episode: