Saturday, June 24, 2006

The person that I admire most


I admire Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft.

After making many billions of dollars, he and his wife decided to donate most of their wealth to charity. They set up a foundation.

The foundation is generous in giving money for worthy causes, to improve the health and lives of millions of poor people around the world.

They decide to distribute their wealth during their lifetime, and not after they have passed away.

They take another step, that is not widely known. They insist that the donee organisations provide an external audit on how their donation is being spent. This ensures that the money is used mainly to benefit the beneficiaries and are not being wasted away.

Wow. Isn't it great?

Do not send policy loan statement?

Some policyholder request that we do not send the loan statement to them. The probably do not want their family members to know that they have taken a loan against their insurance policy.

We are not able to handle this specific request. We have a duty to send a loan statement to our policyholders.

The policyholder can change the mailing address (eg use a postal box) or give us an e-mail address. We will send all correspendence to the postal box or e-mail address.

Delay and mistake in handling upgrading of Incomeshield

A policyholder was unhappy with the delay and mistake in the handling of his upgrading of Incomeshield. I gave this reply to him.

As some other policyholders may be facing the same frustration, I wish to share this reply.



I am sorry about the trouble that you went through in this matter.

We received 20,000 requests for upgrading the Incomeshield enhanced plan. Due to the large volume, some mistakes were made. Your case must be one of them.

Apart from the processing the work, my colleagues have to answer many difficult questions. They take a lot of time.

Several of my colleages were not able to take the work pressure. They resigned. This adds to the pressure on the remaining colleagues.

I hope that you will give us some time to sort out this problem. I do apologise for the trouble that you faced.

Overwhelming response to Enhanced Incomeshield

24 June, 2006

Forum Page
Straits Times

We refer to the letter by Mr Harry Chia Kim Seng, “Why were some not told of Enhanced Incomeshield?” (Straits Times, 23 June).

NTUC Income introduced the Enhanced Incomeshield plan on 1 May 2006. Compared to the basic plan, the enhanced plan provides full coverage (excluding the mandatory deductible and co-insurance), but it requires payment of a slightly higher premium.

The details of the new plans were announced in the media and in our website,

As this is a different plan, we asked our insurance advisers to contact the existing customers and advice them individually of the option to upgrade to the enhanced plan.

The response was overwhelming.We received 20,000 requests within a few weeks. My office colleagues were not able to cope with the large number of requests. Some have resigned due to the work pressure. We are trying to cope with this situation and to clear the backlog of work.

We have now decided to implement a different approach. We will be writing to all existing policyholders in batches over the next 12 months. We will be telling them about the new plan, and include a FAQ (frequently asked questions).

As we have 800,000 policyholders, we still have to handle 65,000 policyholders each month. We expect it to be a challenging exercise. We also have to recruit and train the additional people to handle the expected large volume of requests.

I hope that our policyholders can be patient and wait for the letter to be sent to them over the next 12 months. In the meantime, they are covered under the basic plan, which does cover a large part of the medical expenses anyway, subject to the existing limits.

More information on the Enhanced Incomeshield plan is available at our website,

Tan Kin Lian
Chief Executive Officer
NTUC Income

Friday, June 23, 2006

NTUC Income: Cooperative, your partner for a better life

Life is so uncertain - jobs, health, family, happiness.

You are willing to work hard to give the best to your family and loved ones.

You need a strong organisation to back you - one who understands you, is trustworthy, willing to do the best for you above all else.

NTUC Income: Cooperative, your partner for a better life.

To Sudoku enthusiasts

Logic9 is our version of the popular game, Sudoku. It appears daily in Today paper and MyPaper.

Logic9 is available at several Fairprice supermarkets and bookstores. The pocketbook (suitable for your practice in the train, bus or plan) sells for $5.

It is available in 4 volumes. Each volume contains 128 puzzles at 4 levels. Each puzzle has an unique answer. The answers are given at the book (but you should not cheat). For the beginners, there are 4 tips which guide you on how solve the puzzle.

Yo can also buy the CD version (to play on your personal computer) for $5. It has 64 puzzles with 10 sets of symbols, giving a total of 640 combinatins.

For the experts, try volume 5 and 6 (available in August). It has complex puzzles at 4 levels. Each puzzle has more than 1 solution. At some point in the puzzle, you have to guess the number and see if it is right. If not, you can go back and change the number.

You can try it at

Good luck.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

High customer satisfaction for motor repairs

Each month, we handle about 550 repairs of motor cars at our quality workshop. The repars are arranged by us through a tender. Here is the satisfaction rate:

Service by claim officer 96%
Service by IDAC 96%
Service of workshop 93%
Quality of repair 93%
Promptness of repair 95%

There is a high satisfaction rate (more than 90%) given by our customers.

By arranging the repair, we are able to bring down the repair cost by about 20% and to reduce our premium rate. We are able to get high customer satisfaction.

Bank customer is unhappy with a structured deposit


Dear Mr Tan

I would like to share with you my agony and appreciate your advice.

In May 2004, I was persuaded to purchase a product named interest rate-linked structured deposit (5 years) by a local bank.

Barrier range of interest using 6 mth-SGD-SOR rated compiled by the Assn of Banks in Singapore.

Around Mar 2005, I was told the bank wanted to terminate the fund. It will start a new fund, adjusting the Barrier interest rate to 3.25 reason. The bank expected interest to go up.

The other terms and condition remain the same as the earlier deposit. I was also assured that it is unlikely to have zero payment and is a very safe product.

This year, my second quarter payment indicate that the interest is zero. I queried the officer and was told because the interest rate has shoot above the 3.25 barrier.

When I asked to withdraw the product, I was shocked that I had to pay a penalty of 10% to the bank.

The officer assured me the bank will try to close the fund when the interest rate comes down as it is too expensive for them to replace the fund now.

I felt so confused as in the cover letter the Pre-matured withdrawal Fee states:

"If a depositor wants to pre-maturely withdraw the deposit, it can only be done on a monthly basis and customer must pay a pre-mature withdrawal Fee, derived as the cost of replacing the above deposit at market rates for such tenor. A minimum of 1% will be imposed if such pre-matured withdrawal is made within the first 6 months. "

At that time, the officer told me that the pre-mature withdrawal fee is 1%. Now I was told is 10% (ie $7,000 plus penalty for my $50,000 structured deposit.)

The bank can terminate the fund early without penalty. When customer wants to terminated, the cusotmer has to pay l0% penalty, and not l% as mentioned early withdrawal fee and informed by the officer.

I bought this product earlier because I was told that it is like a fixed deposit, is very safe, and is not linked to any equities or currency. I would appreciate if you can enlighten me on this matter.


I suggest that you write to the CEO of the bank and raise the facts as you have presented. Ask the CEO to explain why the penalty is 10% and why there is no interest payment. It is the bank's duty to explain the product to the customer.

Wheel cramp - release fee $100

I saw a sign next to a building: "Illegally parked vehicle will be wheel-clamped. Release fee $100".

Does the owner of the building have the right to do this? Is the fee reasonable or exorbitant? Can the owner charge $500?

Key features of Flexi Cash

Earn a better interest rate on your savings account!

Do you want to earn 3% on your savings? And have the flexibility to withdraw your money at any time?

Flexi Cash from NTUC Income is a better choice:

- this is an investment-linked plan
- your saving is invested in the money market
- the interest rate is currently around 3% (but may be subject to change with the market)
- minimum saving of $5,000
- saving is subject to a very small investment charge of 0.1% (during the promtion period)
- no restriction on withdrawal
Interested? Call 6788 1111

High cost of education

Some financial planners alarm parents about the high cost of education.

For example, the cost of getting a basic degree is:

Today 15 yrs Monthly
Later saving
Singapore $40,000 $72,000 $250
Australia $160,000 $288,000 $1,000
USA $280,000 $504,000 $1,750
UK $270,000 $486,000 $1,700

Assume cost increase by 4% per year for all countries. Estimates based on 4 year course, except for Australia (3 years). Cost for overseas education includes tuition fees and living expenses.

Assuming an investment return of 6% per annum (not guaranteed), the parent has to save between $250 to $1,750 a month.

That is a lot of money.

Fortunately, most students enjoy a subsidy (if they go to a university in Singapore) or if they qualify for a scholarship in a foreign university. Some of them work to pay for their expenses.

Still, it is useful for the parent to have some regular savings to provide part of the cost of their children's education.

I recommend a monthly saving of $100 to $300 per child. This depends on the financial means of the parents.

eNN: News about your neighbourhood

NTUC Income started the electronic newsletter a year ago.

100,000 subscribers now receive this e-newsletter free-of-charge twice a week, on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Our objective is to informs subscribers of special events in the neighbourhood and help to promote neighbourliness, local jobs and local businesses. It contains sales offers, services, announcements and much more.

We have divided Singapore into 20 neighbourhoods. I subscribe to Ang Mo Kio and Paya Lebar / East Coast neighbourhoods.

You can go to to subscribe eNN of your own neighbourhood. Subscription is FREE.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Cross selling works wonders

Our consultant at the business center followed up on a customer who bought a low cost term insurance (i-term).

The consultant informed the customer about Enhanced Incomeshield. The customer is convinced about this plan. She took it for herself and her son. She is getting the whole family to join the plan.

Cross selling works wonders!

Customer likes our website

Dear sir,

Thank you for your prompt reply. I'm relieved I won't be rejected or loaded on renewal of our Incomeshield plan, should I get sick after getting insured.

I already read all the details provided in the website before submitting my application.

NTUC Income has my vote for the best website among all the insurers because it's easy to navigate and all the information is there, including the policy documents. This way, I know exactly what I'm buying, thanks.

Monday, June 19, 2006

97% prefer the lower premium

Under our quality plan, we carry out the repair as follows:

- if the damages involve the engine or integrity of the car, we will repair at the dealer's workshop

- for minor repair, we repair at our quality workshop and take over the warranty (if it is voided by the dealer).

Earlier this year, we provided an option for the owner to pay a 25% loading in the premium (for a car less than 3 years old), for the repairs to be done at the dealer's workshop, in all cases (including minor repairs).

Out of 3,000 cases that are eligible for this optional plan, only 3% are willing to pay the higher premium. The other 97% prefer the lower premium, and accept the standard package.

Lessons on market volatility

Three weeks ago, the FED chairman, Bernarke, made some comments about inflation in the USA. It caused the global stockmarkets to fall by 10% to 20%.

A few days ago, he made some positive comments. The global stockmarket recovered by 2% to 4%.

What are the lessons?

- the stockmarkets are volatile
- a long term investor can ignore the volatility
- the monetary authorities around the world want to have a robust stockmarket

Any conclusion? It is better to invest when the stockmarkets are down?

Sunday, June 18, 2006

NTUC Income will support parallel importers of cars

NTUC Income will support parallel importers of cars in the following ways:

- get customers for them
- provide financing
- provide warranty, damage and liability insurance

We have made contacts with several parallel importers who are willing to bring in cars on the orders from our customers.

We hope to be able to save a few thousand dollars to car owners for the purchase of their cars, including COEs, and also on the cost of servicing their cars (as the general workshops are able to reduce the cost significantly).

Wait for further announcement.

Customer says: Thank you for insuring me!


Dear Mr Tan,

I always have difficulty getting health shield plans due to my medical conditions. That is until I tried applying for NTUC IncomeShield!

I thought I will go through rounds of medical examination again and the insurer will drag my case. But not with your company! I walked into your Tampines Business Centre on 29 May and received the policy document on 14 June 06. What promptness and efficiency!

I also thought loading will be imposed. Surprisingly, NTUC Income didn't! Very thankful for that. More than that, there are even vouchers given to me for taking up the policy!

I wish to commend your staff Ms Wendy Soong at the Tampines Business Centre as well. She answered my questions well. Insuring myself with NTUC Income has been a pleasant experience indeed.

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