Saturday, June 10, 2006

Enhanced Incomeshield

1) Last year, you said that NTUC Income will not be offering a "as charged" plan. Why do you change your mind?

Reply: Here are three reasons why we decided to introduce the enhanced plan to offer "as charged" coverage:

- Some policyholders indicate that they are willing to pay a higher premium for the "as charged" plan. We wish to meet the wishes of these policyholders.

- Our "as charged" plan requires prior approval, except for emergency. This is to allow our medical adviser to give a second opinion of the proposed treatment and to avoid unnecessary treatment. In most cases, approval will be given within one day.

- We will continue to offer the basic Incomeshield, which is subject to limits for each category of treatment. Our basic plan will continue to be the most affordable in the market.

Initially, the enhanced Incomeshield cost about 15% higher than the similar basic plan, but this difference may widen in the future, based on the claim experience. We will try our best to keep the premium rates at an affordable level for the enhanced plan. It depends on our ability to prevent escalation in medical expenses.

If the gap widens, some policyholders may wish to opt back into the similar basic plan (which will continue to be available) to enjoy the lower premium rates.

Our strategy is to offer a choice for consumers.

2)An industry observer said that insurers are not fighting to get a bigger piece of the pie, but instead its a fight for healthy lives Did you face problems with unhealthy policyholders who wish to upgrade to "as charged plans.?

Reply: We will allow our existing policyholders to upgrade to the enhanced plan without any underwriting on the next renewal date. This will be hassle free. They can upgrade to the enhanced plan during this window period, even if their health condition does not meet the normal acceptance standard.

This is a privilege that we wish to give to all existing policyholders of the basic Incomeshield plan.

After the window period, they will be required to provide evidence of good health for upgrading at a future renewal date.

3) Your "as-charged" plan requires the policyholder to give 4 days advance notice before being treated in a hospital. How is this being managed? If a policyholder fails to fulfill this condition, is there a penalty?

Reply: Under the Enhanced Incomeshield Plan, we ask the policyholder to call us, four working days prior to admission to hospital to seek our guidance on admission and coverage.

We will check that the proposed medical treatment and the charges are reasonable, and give our approval as soon as possible. This can normally be done within one or two working days.

If there is any doubt, we will seek a second opinion of our medical adviser or a panel of specialists. This opinion can be obtained quite quickly.

We believe that this approach will help to reduce the possibility of unnecessary treatment or inflated charges.

In the case of emergency, there is no need to get our prior approval.

If a policyholder overlook to get our prior approval, we will still process the claim. If the medical bill is reasonably and necessary, it will be paid in full. In other cases, we will still make a partial payment, based on the limits that are provided under the basic plan.

4) What is the rate of claims for your various medical insurance plans?

We process about 60,000 claims a year, representing about 7.5% of the policyholders covered under our Incmeshield plan.

5) In the event of a dispute, where do NTUC Income and the consumer take their claims to?

Reply: We refer all disputes to an independent third party, such as the Financial Industry Dispute Resolution Center (FiDREC). Less than 1 percent of claims lead to a dispute.

6) Do you expect many new policyholders, or existing policyholders to upgrade to the "as charged" plan?

Reply: We are getting good response from existing policyholders to upgrad to the enhanced plan. We are getting many new applications as well.

Flexi Cash is now launched

Some details are found in this webpage:

Flexi-Cash works like a bank account. You can put money in at any time. You will earn an interest rate on your money that is linked to the money market.

Currently, the money earns about 3% per annum. It will change with the interest rate in the money market. As interest rate is likely to increase, you can earn more.

The money market (or interbank rate) is what the bank pays to get money from other banks. Usually, the bank will pay 1% to 1.5% less than the money market rate for their fixed deposit.

In NTUC Income's case, we pay 0.25% less than the money market rate. This means that you can earn about 1% more than fixed deposit.

There is a small investment charge of 0.1% when you put money into this account. So, if you keep for more than 1 month, you will get a better return than fixed deposit. Anyway, your money is not locked up for 1 year. It can be taken out at any time.

If you are interested, call 6788 1111.

Friday, June 09, 2006

It's nice to hear from a happy customer

I was at the check-in queue at the airport yesterday (travelling economy class to Hanoi).

"Hi, Mr Tan".

I turned and saw a woman with a happy smile. "My name is Madam Tan. All of my insurance policies are with NTUC. I recognise you."

We shook hands. She told me that she was travelling to Bangkok.

She turned to her two companions and introduced me, "This is Mr Tan, CEO of NTUC Income". I shook hands with her friends.

It is nice to hear from a happy customer, who is proud to be with NTUC Income!

Personal Accident + Infectious Disease

1. When was this new policy launched?

NTUC Income is the first insurer in Singapore to roll out this innovative policy that covers personal accident and infectious diseases at a low premium. The insurance plan provides worldwide cover, 24 hours a day. It was launched in April 2006.

2. Why was this introduced?

In recent years, there is a spread of infections disease, such as SARS, bird flu and dengue fever.

We launched this policy to provide an added coverage to our personal accident policy. 14 infectious diseases are covered.

3. Is the premium under PA+ID cheaper than a life insurance policy?

The premium for PA+ID is $100 a year and it covers $50,000 on death by accident and infectious disease.

The premium for a life insurance policy covering the same amount depends on age and term of policy, and will probably be $1,000 or higher.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

What is the secret of success for NTUC Income?

I presented a paper on branding at a conference. One question asked is, "How much of the success of NTUC Income is due to the personal contribution of Tan Kin Lian?"

My reply:

The success of NTUC Income is largely driven by its core values:

- quality products
- low cost
- fair treatment of policyholders

As a cooperative, we do not seek to make excessive profits for shareholders. We distribute most of our surplus to our policyholders.

Over the years, I work hard to get the my colleagues to feel passionate about our cooperative values, and look after the best interest of our customers. This strategy will ensure the long term success of NTUC Income.

As the CEO, my task is to articulate the cooperative values and to communicate it actively through various channels. I use my blog to help to pass this message.

Do you understand this structured product?

Taken from

Name of Product: "Income X Fund"
Distributor: 4 banks, 1 insurer
Type of Product: Currency arbitrage fund
Bold Claim: "9 % payout in the first year of inception of the fund."

The Facts:
A footnote explains that the payout may be made from the capital of the fund. It means the fund would be giving back part of your own investment and calling it a "payout".

There is no guarantee that any distribution will be made or that the frequency or amount of distributions as set out in the prospectus relating to the Fund will be met.

The sales charge is 5 per cent and the yearly management fee is 1.5 per cent.

For details of how this product operates, read Dr Money's blog. Personally, I find it very complicated.

Lesson: Do not invest in any product that you do not understand.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Lower age requirement for reverse mortgage on HDB flat

Previously, HDB require the owner to be at least 70 years old, before they can apply for a reverse mortgage.

HDB had now just relaxed the minimum age limit of applicants to 62. The loan period is up to age 90 or death or sale of property, whichever is earlier.

Insurance Academy

The Insurance Academy is a collaboration between Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) and NTUC Income.

The Academy train news and current professionals in the financial services and insurance industryl in Singapore and in the region.

There are currently two full time courses:

1 week: Certificate in Entrepreneurial Management
3 months: Specialist Diploma in Insurance Studies

Amazing: special benefits for policyholders

NTUC Income policyholders are eligible for many special benefits.
Some are very useful.

Find out more:

Should I sell and come back later?


I would like to know your opinion that if a ILP (using CPF OA) are making money say after 3 years, would it be advisable to sell it off and put the money back to CPF and wait for another opportunity or just wait for it to keep rolling?


It is usually quite difficult to time the market.

If you are really sure that the market is "too high" and you wish to take profit, then it is okay.

But, if you are wrong in selling out, you may have to re-invest at a higher price, and you miss out on a significant portion of the gain.

Normally, I prefer to invest for 10 or 20 years and avoid taking decisions at shorter intervals.

Interested to invest in NTUC Income shares


I have always viewed NTUC income shares as a good defense stock as it provide a very decent return (6% based on recent dividend) with little/no risk of losing the principal.

Is it still open for investment? Some months back, I have checked with the NTUC Income staff in the Tampines Centre and was told it was not available.

I am currently holding 1,000 shares and would like to purchase more shares if possible to form part of my defensive portfolio.


We are not taking application for Income shares. As we have sufficient capital, we are not likely to invite applications for the next few years.

I suggest that you attend our educational seminar and learn about the various investment choices. The seminar on "re-investing your maturity proceeds" offer choices for single premium investments. It covers a choice of various investment products.

Monday, June 05, 2006

250 people visit my blog each day

An average of 250 people visit my blog each day. This is a 65% increase over the average of 150 people two months ago. This is measured through the site meter that is pasted to my blog.

Thank you for visiting my blog. Please help to spread the word to your friends. Ask them to come and read my views and tips.

More visitors to Business Centers

Each day, 80 people visit our two business centers, an increase of 80% compared to 6 weeks ago. After the official opening of the centers, more people are aware about it.

They come to the business centers for financial planning and to buy our insurance products. We offer great value on these products, which are much better than similar products from our competitors.

For example, a person saving $300 a month over 30 years can get $60,000 more from our product compared to a similar product from our competitors - for the same risk profile.

You get more from NTUC Income becuase we give an additonal 12 months of investments and charge 1% less in annual fee. $60,000 is A LOT OF MONEY!

We are able to handle double the number of visitors, so we welcome more people to vist our business center. Call 6877 3366 to make an appointment.

Savings rate among the young is low in Canada

Our consultant in Canada was very impressed with the educational talk given by NTUC Income on "financial tips for the young".

He also like the financial awareness talks conducted under the Money Sense programme funded by the Monetary Authority in Singapore.

There is no similar educational program in Canada. The personal savings rate, especially among the young, is now in negative territory, which is the lowest level since the 1920s.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Our investments are doing well

I received a monthly e-mail statement on my investments with the funds operated by NTUC Income.

I invested $208,000 of my money from CPF, SRS and cash. The average duration is 3 years. They are invested in several combined and specialised funds.

The total value of my investments is $245,000 (even after the 5% correction in May). I get a return of 18% for the 3 years.

My wife invested $201,000 of her cash savings. The average duration is 2 years. Most of her investments are in the combined fund.

Her investments are now worth $230,000, giving a return of 14% for 2 years. This is a better return than mine.

Learn about insurance on your own

This educational website tells you about the key facts on
common insurance products, such as motor, health, life and
home insurance. It also tells you about estate duty, writing a
will and other useful topics.

Each topic can be completed within 20 minutes. You can take
a test to check your understanding.

It is educational and fun. And can save you a lot of money by
buying the right product.

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