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Great Eastern Holdings Q2 earnings jump to S$244.6m

Great Eastern says that the huge jump is due to unrealised mark-to-market gains in insurance funds in a more favourable interest rate environment.

SINGAPORE: Life insurance firm, Great Eastern Holdings, has booked a sharp jump in second-quarter earnings, with net profit coming in at S$244.6 million dollars, compared to just S$18.6 million dollars in the same period a year ago.

Great Eastern said on Thursday (July 31), that the huge jump is due to unrealised mark-to-market gains in insurance funds in a more favourable interest rate environment. This has led to a turnaround in non-operating profit at S$72.2 million dollars, compared to the losses of S$155.6 million a year ago.

Operating profit, however, fell 8 per cent to S$142.9 million dollars. Great Eastern says total weighted new sales for the quarter fell 16 per cent to S$219.9 million compared to a year ago, as agency sales in Singapore last year benefited from the recapture of a high volume of maturing participating policies.

"The landscape is getting more and more competitive, there's no doubt about that; we are dealing with it by being more innovative and working through the existing programmes which we have already put in place,” said Norman Ip, Great Eastern Holdings’ chairman.

With the Monetary Authority of Singapore planning to require all insurance companies to offer the direct purchase of certain life insurance products, Great Eastern has said it is training its agents, and providing them with new technology, to better engage their customers.

"We also train them in terms of ethics, to make sure they carry out their business in the best possible way for the best interests of customers,” said Khoo Kah Siang, CEO (Singapore), Great Eastern Holdings. “We have also recently introduced a digital financial planning tool to help our agents carry out financial planning with our customers. (They) will be able to use mobile devices to discuss about financial planning to customers or prospects in a less formal setting."
 

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