CONSUMERS will soon be able to compare life insurance products on a new Web portal, and buy a new category of insurance direct - bypassing financial advisers altogether.
From April 7, consumers will have the option of comparing life insurance products across insurers through a new Web portal called compareFIRST (www.comparefirst.sg), the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced yesterday.
Mr Lee Boon Ngiap, MAS' assistant managing director for capital markets, said: "Buying a life insurance product is a decision for the long term.
"We strongly encourage consumers to use compareFIRST and assess the suitability of the various life insurance products offered by different companies before they buy a product."
The portal allows consumers to compare the premiums and features of similar life insurance products at a glance.
Consumers would then approach a financial advisory representative or life insurer to buy their choice of insurance plans.
The Web portal combines the efforts of the regulator, the Consumers Association of Singapore, the Life Insurance Association Singapore (LIA Singapore) and MoneySense.
Life insurance companies will also start selling direct purchase insurance on April 7.
These are simple life insurance products sold without commissions and financial advice, and so the premiums are lower than comparable life insurance products.
These new moves come under the Financial Advisory Industry Review.
LIA Singapore said these will help to bridge the protection gap, and consumers will be able to "make better informed choices".
MAS says consumers should read the factsheet for direct purchase insurance and also complete the checklist provided by insurers before buying. More information is available on www.moneysense.gov.sg/dpi.
The features and pricing of direct purchase insurance are available from life insurers.
Manulife Singapore yesterday launched a whole life plan and term plan for the direct purchase segment.
Prudential said it will have 37 products up on the portal.
Manulife Singapore chief executive Naveed Irshad said: "With the launch of the new direct purchase channel, we want to support consumers in their financial decisions by providing them with information that is clear, relevant and easy to understand."
This article was first published on April 1, 2015.
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