「保險滲透度世界第一」 背後的真相

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2011 / 11月

文‧楊芙宜 圖‧林格立


近十年來,台灣保險市場在外商與銀行加入後,蓬勃發展。除了傳統商品(壽險、傷害險、健康險)外,各種投資、理財型保單紛紛推陳出新,競爭激烈。

台灣社會對保險的概念也逐漸從早期「保險都是騙人的」,到不盡信「期滿可以還本」或「活得愈久,領得愈多」之類行銷話術,懂得自我評估風險與需求。

保險是為了保障,還是賺錢?台灣人的保費占GDP的比例世界第一,又透露出什麼訊息?


林小仙37歲,單身,背負房貸,外加11張保單,包括6張還本型壽險、1張投資、2張防癌、2張醫療保險,年繳保費約20萬元,占年薪的1/3。她說,會買這麼多保險,是為儲蓄,也因她是家裡的經濟支柱,需撫養媽媽,萬一有任何意外,保險可以讓媽媽在經濟上不致陷入困境。

一個人擁有十多張保單、年繳數十萬元保費並不是特例,國人愈來愈懂得運用不同保險商品,滿足個人風險管理需求。

保險滲透度世界第一

瑞士再保公司統計各國「保險滲透度」(指保費收入占國內生產毛額的比率),發現自2007年起,台灣已連續4年蟬聯世界第一;去年全球保險滲透度平均僅6.9%(壽險為4%,產險2.9%),但台灣高達18.4%(壽險15.4%,產險3.0%),遠高於排名第二的南非(14.8%)及尾隨其後的英國與荷蘭(12.4%)。(見表1)

台灣的保險滲透度領先全球,反映了保險業對經濟的貢獻遠較各國大,保險市場已臻於成熟。

根據財團法人保險事業發展中心統計,去年國人平均花費10萬4,423元買保險,其中,財產險僅有4,568元,人身保險花費卻高達9萬9,855元(占保費支出的95%),比10年前成長了近三倍。(見圖1)

若你以為國人願意「多花一點錢」買保障,可就錯了,因為國人的保費支出三級跳,與購買的「險種」多為理財型的儲蓄保單有很大關係。

「儲蓄險的保費比其他純保障的險種(如壽險)貴,而且保費多採躉繳(一次繳清)方式,拉高了整體平均數,」政大保險學系助理教授彭金隆解釋。

保險事業發展中心的統計顯示,台灣的人身保險涵蓋壽險、健康醫療險、意外傷害險、年金險等4項,其中,壽險(65%)與年金險(23%)占了大宗。彭金隆估計,近年台灣約一兆多元的壽險與年金險保費裡,至少超過一半是理財型商品,包括最夯的6或7年期養老險、利率變動型年金險等。

儲蓄險的保費貴,但民眾還是喜歡買,為的是賺比銀行定存高的利息。然而,磊山保險經紀人執行副總龔立煒直陳,「儲蓄險利率有保證、能穩健獲利,但前提是額度要夠大,才看得出利息效益。」例如,年繳6萬元、利率2%,第一年利息只有1,200元;但60萬元的保單利息就可達1萬2,000元,效果顯著。

40歲的陳先生聽到銀行理財專員推銷「一次繳89 萬6,900元,6年期滿後就能領回100萬元,而且還有91萬元(約為保費的1.015倍)的壽險保障。」他立刻敲計算機算出年平均報酬率達1.83%,比目前多數銀行1 年期固定利率1.35%高,二話不說馬上簽約。

儲蓄型保單熱銷大解析

令人好奇的是,諸如「N年還本」、「活得愈久,領得愈多」的儲蓄型保單在國內已存在二、三十年,國外也有類似商品,但為何這幾年如此熱銷大賣?

首先,近十年全球經濟激烈變動,2001年網路科技泡沫,股市一夕崩盤,如雅虎股價曾重挫90%,由145美元跌到15美元,世界經濟嚴重衰退。2008年美國次級房貸危機引爆全球金融海嘯,雷曼兄弟等機構紛紛破產,道瓊工業指數也數度單日重跌數百點;迄今,各國景氣又陷於歐債、美債泥淖,尚未完全恢復。影響所及,國內銀行利率一路從5%走跌到1%以下(目前3年期的定存固定利率不到1.5%),與1990年代定存利率8%~9%相差頗大。

「保險與利率有連動關係,低利率使『保障型』的傳統保單利率下降、保費變貴,消費者購買意願降低;定存族開始四處尋找報酬率更高的理財工具,使得『儲蓄型』或『投資型』保險商品大受歡迎,」彭金隆解釋。

「儲蓄險的利率只要比銀行的高出0.25%~0.5%,就對定存族有很大的吸引力,」保發中心精算師張志宏說。

其次,近年國內薪資水平雖然變動不大,但受國際經濟情勢不明影響,民間投資意願不強,民眾省吃儉用,縮減開銷,國民儲蓄率反而屢創新高。

主計處統計,2001~2010年國民儲蓄率(國民儲蓄毛額占國民生產毛額的比率)自24%升到31%(見表2),創21年來新高,超額儲蓄率(儲蓄減去投資的差額)也從6.1%升到前兩年的9%~10%,民間閒置資金增加;充沛的游資需要尋求「保本」或「穩健獲利」的出口,儲蓄型保險商品因此成為選項之一。

另外,10年前政府為擴大銀行規模,通過《金融控股公司法》,讓銀行加入銷售保險的行列,推出許多「類定存」保單,也有助於儲蓄型保險市占率的大幅提高。據估計,2009年,銀行賣保險的成績已超過了傳統的民營保險公司,去年全台有近七成的保費收入來就自銀行,其中,儲蓄型保單即占大宗。

2009年,國泰世華、中國信託銀行雙雙由前年度約八百多億、四百多億元的保費收入,一舉突破上千億元,另外有6家銀行保費收入達100億元,其中八成五至九成即來自儲蓄型、利率變動型等理財保單。

「高保費,低保障」的荒謬現象

在投資型保單熱賣的亮眼成績下,國人混淆保險與儲蓄理財的觀念,造就日益顯著的「高保費,低保障」現象,更值得細究。

保險事業發展中心統計,去年國人的壽險與年金險平均投保率(有效保單件數占人口數比例)210.7%,壽險新契約平均保額僅64.5萬元。若以一人2.1張保單計算,則每人平均壽險保額約為135萬元,與歐美、日本等國平均每人保額300~500萬元相較,保障顯然偏低。

彭金隆表示,這跟國人普遍具有活著時就想把繳出去的保費拿回來的態度有關。

學理上,保險原是一種風險分攤工具,多半用於身故保障。但為了回應這種「想把錢領回」的消費習性,保險公司發明了「生死合險」型保單,把被保險人生時與死亡的給付條件合併,讓保險人活著時可以先領一筆錢,身故後家屬親友等受益人也有錢可拿。因此打著「N年可以領回XX元」、「活得愈久,領得愈多」、「期滿還本」等訴求的保單紛紛出籠,擊中一般人「不想虧本」的心態。

「相較於歐美國家重視保險的『純保障』功能,亞洲國家的日、韓、台灣、大陸,卻把保險跟儲蓄做了很強的連結;很多人購買這種高保費理財型商品時,不覺得是在買保險,認為是在『儲蓄』,」彭金隆說。

但問題是,目前市場上的利變型(利率變動型)年金、六或七年期躉繳養老險等理財型保單,多只訴求一次繳多少保費,N年後就可以拿回XX利息,卻忽略了保險是為了提供生活「保障」的真正需求。

彭金隆舉例說,一張10年期的還本型養老險,年繳保費11萬元,到期後可領回110萬滿期金,在這期間要保人若不幸身亡,受益人則可獲得100萬元理賠,「等於每年存了10萬元,只有1萬元是用來買身故後100萬的保障。」還不如把這筆保費(11萬元)拿去買10年期的壽險,可買到700~800萬元保額,讓家人的保障更高。

不確定年代的風險管控意識

因為保險原義在保障,是風險管理的工具,即使附加了儲蓄、投資、節稅等功能,其「保障」性質應無可取代。那麼,究竟多少保障才算足夠?

目前最常被採用的標準是「雙十原則」,亦即用個人或家庭年收入的十分之一(保費),去買年收入10倍的保障(壽險保額)。以這個標準計算,2010年台灣平均國民年所得約為51.9萬元,每人購買的壽險平均額度至少要有519萬元。

然而,台灣現況卻是一般人買了許多儲蓄險,規劃的保障卻嚴重不足,一旦家中的經濟支柱發生意外,家人的生活難有保障。

壽險公會統計,去年台灣壽險業死亡給付689.6億元、給付人數12.6萬人,平均每位被保險人身故後,遺屬只領到54.9萬元的死亡保險金,大概只夠支應家人不到10個月的生活開銷,更遑論喪葬費用。

人生階段各有不同需求,從出社會、結婚置產、養育下一代、準備教育金到退休,各階段的風險缺口都不一樣。可依據當時的經濟狀況調整保險結構,大原則是先求有(保險)、再求好(完整保障)。

磊山保險經紀人首席顧問李佳蓉舉例說,青壯族的家庭風險較大,需避免事故發生時經濟頓時陷入困境,若以台灣勞工平均月薪約4.2萬元計算,要有1,000萬元的保障,可購買較便宜的20年期壽險,保費約四萬多元,對一個雙薪、育有一子、有500萬元房貸的勞工家庭而言,保費只占家庭年收入的4.6%,付起來不會太吃力。

彭金隆提醒,一般人的風險意識不強,但它不會因為人的主觀意識而不發生。先把風險照顧好,有多餘閒錢,再談其他規劃,不妨以「先風險,再報酬;先保障,再投資」的順序因應未來。

在這個全球金融體系連動的不確定年代,銀行與保險公司會倒、國家會賴債,每個人都應正視自己面臨的風險,也許因應方式之一並不在於擁有多少財產,而是為自己和家人的未來思索一個安全的保障。

表1、2010年世界主要國家與地區保險滲透度排名

保險滲透度

排名

國家

總計

壽險業

產險業

1

台灣

18.40

15.40

3.00

2

南非

14.80

12.00

2.80

3

英國

12.40

9.50

2.90

4

荷蘭

12.40

3.20

9.20

5

香港

11.50

10.10

1.40

6

南韓

11.20

7.00

4.20

7

法國

10.50

7.40

3.10

8

日本

10.10

8.00

2.10

9

瑞士

9.90

5.50

4.40

18

美國

8.00

3.50

4.50

世界

6.90

4.00

2.90

資料來源:摘譯自" Swiss Re, Sigma No. 2/2011"

註:保險滲透度:保費收入對GDP之比率。

表2、台灣近十年國民所得與國民儲蓄率

平均每人國民所得(台幣)

國民儲蓄率(%)

經濟成長率(%)

2001

399,665

24.15

-1.65

2002

417,639

27.03

5.26

2003

431,947

28.51

3.67

2004

454,718

28.61

6.19

2005

463,778

27.94

4.70

2006

478,968

29.55

5.44

2007

498,912

30.38

5.98

2008

479,214

28.36

0.73

2009

471,797

27.68

-1.93

2010

519,664

31.28

10.82

資料來源:行政院主計處

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EN

We're No. 1! The Reality Behind Taiwan's Insurance Penetration Ranking

Lavai Yang /photos courtesy of Jimmy Lin /tr. by Scott Williams

Taiwan's insurance market place has seen explosive development in recent years following liberalizations that have permitted banks and foreign firms to participate. Competition has become fierce and providers have introduced savings- and investment-oriented insurance products on top of the more traditional life, injury, and health products.

Taiwanese society's understanding of insurance has also changed. Most people used to think that "insurance is a scam." Today, though still distrusting marketing slogans that promise a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, people at least recognize the principle of risk management and can assess how insurance might help them meet their needs.

Is insurance a means of protecting against risk, or of making money? What does it say about Taiwan that we have the world's highest rate of insurance penetration?


Lin Xiaoxian is a typical, single, 37-year-old office worker with a mortgage. She also has 11 insurance policies, including six endowment policies, one investment policy, two cancer policies, and two medical treatment policies. Her premiums total roughly NT$200,000 per year, or about one-third of her income. Lin says that she's bought so much insurance as a savings vehicle, and because she also supports her mother. If anything were to happen to her, the insurance money would protect her mother from potentially abject poverty.

World number one

According to Swiss Re, Taiwan has had the world's highest rate of insurance penetration (the ratio of insurance premiums to GDP) for four years running. Last year, Taiwan's penetration rate stood at 18.48% (15.4% for life insurance and 3% for non-life insurance), well above the global average of 6.9% (4% for life insurance plus 2.9% for non-life insurance). South Africa ranked second (14.8%) while the UK and the Netherlands tied for third (12.4%). (See Table 1.)

Taiwan's world-leading insurance penetration rate reflects the relative maturity of our insurance market and the fact that our insurance industry contributes far more to our economy than the insurance industries of other nations do to theirs.

According to the Taiwan Insurance Institute (TII), Taiwanese spent an average of NT$104,423 on insurance premiums last year, NT$4,568 of it on non-life insurance and NT$99,855 (95%) on so-called "insurance of the person," i.e. "life insurance" in the broadest sense of the term. That's nearly three times its level 10 years ago. (See Figure 2.)

But if you assume these numbers mean that Taiwanese are "spending a little extra" to protect themselves, you'd be wrong. Instead, most of this spending has been on policies that function as savings vehicles.

"Premiums on savings-oriented policies are higher than those for pure insurance policies, such as term life," says Peng Jin-lung, an assistant professor with National Chengchi University's Department of Risk Management and Insurance. "They are also usually paid in full in advance which increases their weighting in the statistics."

According to Swiss Re, Taiwan's "insurance of the person" category includes life, health, and accidental injury insurance, as well as annuities. Life insurance (65%) and annuities (23%) comprise the bulk of this category. Peng estimates that over half of the more than NT$1 trillion Taiwanese have paid in life insurance and annuity premiums in recent years has gone to savings-oriented products.

Though premiums for savings-oriented products are high, the public continues to buy them because they offer better interest rates than time deposits. On the other hand, Howard Kung, executive vice president of Lei Shan Insurance, admits that though these interest rates are guaranteed and can generate stable profits, "you need to have enough invested to make it worthwhile." For example, 2% on a NT$60,000 policy is just NT$1,200, but on a NT$600,000 policy, it's NT$12,000.

A Mr. Chen, a 40ish office worker, found himself quickly won over by a bank financial planner's pitch for a savings-oriented life insurance policy. The policy required a one-time payment of NT$896,900, and returned NT$1 million at the end of its six-year term, while retaining NT$910,000 in death benefits (1.015 times the initial premium). Chen calculated that the policy offered a 1.83% rate of return, versus the 1.35% rate available on a one-year time deposit, and made the investment.

Savings-oriented policies

Savings-oriented policies that "pay you more the longer you live" have existed in Taiwan for 20 or 30 years, and are also sold abroad. Why have they only recently become popular?

It comes down to economics. The global economy has been remarkably volatile for the last 10 years-the subprime mortgage crisis in the US kicked off a global financial crisis in 2008; and now the US and European debt crises are hampering economic recovery.

As a consequence, interest rates on deposits at Taiwanese banks have fallen from 5% to less than 1%. The interest rate on three-year time deposits currently stands at around 1.5%, far below the 8-9% rates of the 1990s.

Insurance and interest rates are linked. "Low interest rates cause interest rates on traditional protection products to decline, premiums to rise, and consumer interest in buying them to decline," explains Peng. "Time-deposit investors begin seeking financial instruments offering higher yields, making savings- and investment-oriented insurance policies more popular."

While interest rates were falling, Taiwan's savings rate was climbing to a new high. According to the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS), over the 2001-2010 period the national savings rate (the percentage of GDP saved by households) rose from 24% to 31%, a 21-year high. The excess savings rate (savings minus investments) also rose during this period, from 6.1% to 9-10% in 2009, increasing the amount of idle capital in the public's hands. Soaking up this money requires seeking out investments that preserve capital or generate stable returns. Savings-oriented insurance products do just that.

The Financial Holding Company Act has also played a role. Passed a decade ago as a means to increase the size of Taiwan's banks, the act permitted banks to get involved in the selling of insurance. Financial holding companies introduced "time-deposit-like" policies, contributing to the massive growth in the market share of savings-oriented insurance. By 2009, banks were selling more insurance products than traditional insurers. In fact, they accounted for nearly 70% of premium income last year, most of which was generated by savings-oriented policies.

In 2009, premium income generated from sales by Cathay United Bank and Chinatrust Bank jumped to over NT$100 billion each from roughly NT$80 billion and NT$40 billion, respectively, in the preceding year. Premium income generated by six other banks broke through the NT$10 billion mark, of which 85-90% came from savings-oriented and variable-interest-rate policies.

High premiums, little protection

With investment-oriented policies becoming so popular, the public has begun to confuse the concepts of "insurance" and "savings." This has given rise to a situation in which high premiums frequently offer little protection.

According to the TII, the average insurance rate (the ratio of valid policies to population) for life insurance and annuities was 210.7% while the average benefit for new life insurance policies was just NT$645,000. If you multiply this figure by the average of 2.1 policies per person, average life insurance coverage amounts to just NT$1.35 million per person, far less than NT$3-5 million average in Europe, the US and Japan.

Peng says that this is related to the widespread desire among Taiwanese to recoup their premium payments during their lifetimes.

"In the US and Europe, the focus is on the purely protective function of insurance," says Peng. "In Asian nations such as Japan, Korea, Taiwan and mainland China, people link insurance and savings. Many people who buy these high-premium investment-oriented products don't think of themselves as buying insurance in the traditional sense, but as 'saving.'"

The problem is that most of the variable-rate annuities currently on the market are set up specifically to accept a one-time premium, and return X interest to the policy holder some number of years later. They completely elide the intended protective function of insurance.

Peng offers an example: An endowment policy with a 10-year term has an annual premium of NT$110,000 and returns NT$1.1 million at term. If the policyholder has the misfortune to pass away before the policy comes to term, the policy's beneficiary receives NT$1 million. "It amounts to saving NT$100,000 per year and using the other NT$10,000 to buy NT$1 million in protection." He argues that it makes more sense to spend this NT$110,000 premium on a life insurance policy offering a NT$7-8 million benefit. Such an approach, he says, offers your family much more security in the event of your passing.

The original purpose of insurance was protection: it was simply a tool for managing risk. This protective function should not be overlooked when insurance also becomes a vehicle for savings, investment and tax reduction. But how much is enough?

Risk management

Currently, the most common standard is "the double ten rule," which holds that an individual or household's premiums should amount to roughly 10% of annual income, and life insurance benefits equal roughly 10 times the previous year's income. If we apply this rule to Taiwan's average annual income of NT$519,000, it suggests that individuals should have average life insurance coverage of at least NT$5.19 million.

But in fact most Taiwanese are buying mainly savings-oriented insurance but have far too little long-term protection. If something were to happen to a breadwinner in such circumstances, his or her family could find themselves in very difficult straits.

According to the Life Insurance Association of the ROC, Taiwan's life insurance industry paid out death benefits totaling NT$68.96 billion to 126,000 beneficiaries last year, an average per policy of only NT$549,000. This amount is only enough to support the families in question for 10 months or so. And that doesn't even account for burial expenses.

People have different needs at different stages of their lives and should adjust their insurance holdings based on their current income level. The general rule of thumb is to first get some insurance, then worry about getting full coverage.

Carol Lee, chief consultant with Lei Shan Insurance, explains that the risks are greatest for a family whose breadwinner is in his or her prime. Such a family needs to protect itself from economic disaster should its breadwinner be the victim of an accident. Based on the NT$42,000 average monthly salary in Taiwan, a typical family needs about NT$10 million in protection. Lee notes that the family could purchase relatively cheap 20-year term life insurance at a cost of NT$40,000 or so per year. For a double-income family with one child and an NT$5 million mortgage, the premiums would represent an affordable 4.6% of family income.

In this uncertain era, in which global financial systems are interlinked, banks and insurance companies may fail, and governments may default on their debt, all of us must look our risks square in the face. It may be that the best way to address them isn't to accumulate a given amount of assets, but to reflect on how to protect one's family and one's future.

Table 1. Leading Territories/Nations by Insurance Penetration in 2010

Insurance Penetration %

Ranking

Country

Total

Life

Non-Life

1

Taiwan

18.40

15.40

3.00

2

South Africa

14.80

12.00

2.80

3

U.K.

12.40

9.50

2.90

4

Netherlands

12.40

3.20

9.20

5

Hong Kong

11.50

10.10

1.40

6

South Korea

11.20

7.00

4.20

7

France

10.50

7.40

3.10

8

Japan

10.10

8.00

2.10

9

Switzerland

9.90

5.50

4.40

18

U.S.

8.00

3.50

4.50

World

6.90

4.00

2.90

Source: Quoted and translated from "Swiss Re, Sigma No. 2/2011."

Note: "Insurance penetration" is the ratio of insurance premiums to GDP.

Table 2. Taiwan's National Income and National

Savings Rate (2001-2010)

Year

Per Capita National Income (NTD)

National Savings Rate (%)

Economic Growth Rate (%)

2001

399,665

24.15

-1.65

2002

417,639

27.03

5.26

2003

431,947

28.51

3.67

2004

454,718

28.61

6.19

2005

463,778

27.94

4.70

2006

478,968

29.55

5.44

2007

498,912

30.38

5.98

2008

479,214

28.36

0.73

2009

471,797

27.68

-1.93

2010

519,664

31.28

10.82

Source: Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics

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