Saturday, July 30, 2005

Standing Arrangement on Policy Loan


Dear Policyholder


You have taken a life insurance policy with us for more than 5 years. It has
accumulated a large cash value.

We wish to offer you an attractive arrangement:

- you can take a loan against this cash value by giving us a telephone call
- the loan will be credited to your bank account immediately
- interest will be charged at the prevailing rate, which is currently 5.5% per annum

To benefit from this arrangement, you have to open a "standing arrangement" with
us, as follows:

- you have to sign and return the attached agreement
- the fee of $50 is waived, if you sign up within 1 month of this letter.
- you do not pay any fee, apart from interest on any sum that is drawn down

For more information, call XXXXXXXXX



We want to make it easy for our policyholders to take a loan from us.

Many are not aware, and they take a loan from credit card which carries 18% or 24% interest. Borrowing from loan sharks is higher. If they borrow from other insurers, they pay 6 to 8% interest.

If they take a loan from us, they save on the interest. It makes our insurance plans look much better.

Inexpensive to cover for Personal Accident

Recently, a cyclist crashed into a barrier in Tampines and may be paralysed for life. This unfortunate accident is a poignant reminder of the uncertainty of life. Besides the emotional trauma, the financial strain on his family can be quite considerable.

Accidents can happen anywhere, anytime. It is useful for people to have Personal Accident insurance. The payouts can help relieve the financial burden.

For as little as $6 a month, a person can receive up to $100,000 on permanent disability. This can tide over the immediate financial burden, as it will take time and cost to puruse a legal claim for compensation.

Our personal accident plan provide worldwide accident cover, 24 hours a day. It also covers natural perils and reservist training at no additional cost. You can aslo insure for payouts for temporary disablement and medical expenses.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Investment-linked product: choice of life cover

NTUC Income will offer 2 choice of cover for our Ideal plan (ie an investment linked product or ILP):

- level term
- decreasing term

Both covers will be paid by a level premium, which is lower than the premium under a traditional policy. The sum assured is payable in addition to the savings accumulated in the ILP plan.

For example, a policyholder who saves $2,000 a year may take a level term or decreasing term to cover $50,000 over 20 years.

Under level term, the sum of $50,000 is payable in addtion to the accumulated savings.

Under decreasing term, the sum is reduced by $2,500 each year, and is payable in addition to the accumulated savings.

The cost of the term insurance cover is quite modest. To find out more, visit our office in Bras Basah Road. You can also attend our educational seminar.

Call 6788 3366.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

19 people gave their "wish for Singapore"

A colleague posted an article "I wish for Singapore..". 19 persons responded. Some posted more than 1 wish.

Consideration, less kiasu, more helpful - 6 wishes
More prosperous, more gracious, patience, happiness - 6 wishes
Terrorism-free - 4 wishes
Cooler weather, 4 seasons - 4 wishes
$250 per month for elderly people - 3 wishes
Self sufficiency in water and a hinterland - 1 wish
More green concious - 1 wish

Make a third party claim against NTUC Income

Here are the questins posed by a third party claimant, and reply given by me.

Friends from the industry have told me, that insurers make it difficult for people who are claiming against it for motor insurance policies. I just got my car banged by someone and Income (who insured the other party) have been refusing to coorporate with my workshop for the third-party claim, despite my workshop sending in pictures, to get it expedited.

I'm told that this delaying tactic is common practice for Income when a workshop or insurance company wants to claim against it, and now I've experienced it first hand.

We have found, over the years, that the workshop likes to submit an inflated bill for motor repairs. If they can repair a car for $X for their customer, they will charge 2 times of $X for an insurance company, especially for a third party claim. The distributor's workshop (ie the distributor who sell the car) will charge even more.

Negotiation over the price of repair is the main cause of delay. We like to settle the claim early, but at a reasonable price.

We have advised third party claimants to report their claim to our Idac center immediately after the accident. This allows us to assess the damages and estimate a fair repair cost. As we handle many repairs each day, we are able to get a repair cost that is fair and acceptable to the repair workshop.

If your workshop cannot accept our price, and many other workshop find the price to be reasonable, then your workshop is trying to profiteer on the repair.

If you choose to bypass our request, and you go to your own workshop, and they send us an "inflated bill", what do you expect us to do? Do not blame us for making things difficult. I think that you and your workshop have to be fair to us as well.

If you wish to form a fair opinion about our claim process, I invite you to visit our office. You can look at the number of repairs that are done by us, and the customer satisfaction rate, including the satisfaction for third party claims submitted through our Idac procedure.

Sure, I know of workshops that charge inflated rates. But why can't the victim of an accident go to his own workshop? How can it be that I have to go patronise Income's workshops?

If your workshop is willing to charge a reasonable price, we agree to let the repair be done at your workshop. But, we have to agree on the price first.

There are many workshop that can repair the vehicle, using new parts (for a new car) and provide an acceptable standard of repair, for a reasonable price. This should be the "benchmark" price.

If you were involved in an accident, would you send in your Mercedes to just any workshop that the third party insurer assigns you to? Obviously not, because it's of no fault of yours that workshops are inflating prices and that your vehicle is banged into by someone else.

My honest answer is "yes". I will let my insurer handle the repair, provided that they undertake to ensure that the repair is of an acceptable standard. They are many workshops that can do an acceptable level of work at a fair price. Over the past years, I have a two accidents (also caused by other parties) and have been happy to let my vehicle be repaired at the quality workshop under NTUC Income.

While insurance firms hagger over costs, they often forget that their customers are already stressed out with an accident, struggling to repair things and move on.

Our policyholders are happy to let us arrange the repair. Based on our post repair survey, over 95% of our policyholders have expressed satisfaction at the quality of repair and customer service.

If the third party claimant is willing to follow this procedure, I am sure that they will find it to be stress free.

People buy insurance so that when the unexpected happens, we have something to fall back on. Claimants do not profiteer from the process. We expect insurance firms to help us, not prolong the uncertainty of a claim.

The correct procedure is for you to claim against your own insurer and let them claim from NTUC Income. It is their duty to provide this customer service to you, as you are their customer. If you are not at fault, they should allow you to keep the No Claim Discount.

By making your claim direct against us, you are not being fair to us, because you do not follow our process and insist on your right to make the claim in your own way. We also have our right to protect our interest.

If others in the industry try to profiteer, it cannot be that the insured is asked to pay the price. My car only rolled out four months ago. It's only fair that I go back to the distributor for the original parts - I'm sure you know there are not many workshops that have the parts to fix my vehicle.

I believe that our quality workshop is able to repair your car to a satisfactory standard. If they are not able to, we will certainly use your distributor.

Is it against "correct procedure" to claim against a third party? Sure, I can claim against my insuer first. But I will fight my case because I am confident of it.

I understand your wish to insist on your right. Do be considerate of the right of the other party as well.

We handle 50 repairs of our policyholders on the "tender system". It works quite well - even from the customer perspective. If you do not trust this system, we accept your point of view.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Work Life Balance - more than Flexi Work

Forum Page
Straits Times

I refer to the letter 'Work-life balance? If only flexi-work is okay' by Ms Lynn Chong Fui Lian (ST, July 22).

I agree with Ms Lynn that more local companies should embrace flexi-work arrangements. Family friendly programmes at the workplace helps staff strike a balance between family obligations and work. Such practices contribute to a high satisfaction rate among staff and a motivated workforce.

Some of NTUC Income's practices:

a) Staff with children below 12 years old can apply for part-time work. This encourages the working mothers to remain with us. They can choose to work half day or alternate full days. Those who are not able to make suitable arrangements for childcare can opt to work from home. They agree with their supervisor on the scope of work, level of productivity and quality standards.

b) Staff can apply for up to two years of no-pay leave to take care of their families.

c) Currently, staff receive one month of paid leave every three years. They enjoy this leave in addition to the normal annual leave. This special leave allows them to spend time with their families, learn a special skill or go on an extended overseas vacation.

d) Staff can select their starting time of work from 7 am to 10 am to suit their family commitments.

To minimise work disruption, NTUC Income has a pool of temporary employees who are trained and deployed when necessary to handle routine functions while an experienced employee handles the complicated ones.

The experience has been positive. Employees like the flexible work arrangements. The organisation enjoys high staff retention and achieves good business results.

NTUC Income has constantly received the 'Family Friendly Employer Award' in recognition of its positive actions in helping employees achieve work-life harmony.

Patricia Ng
Senior Manager, Human Resource
NTUC Income

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Principle of insurance - share the loss

A policyholder wrote to ask my advise about a dread disease plan for his other who is 55 years old. He said that the premium is high. Term insurance is cheaper, but he will "lose money" on the insurance.

My advice to him is:

- the dread disease plan is not essential for your mother. If she falls ill, the hospital bill can be met by the hospital insurance (which she is already covered)

- if the premium is a burden on your cash flow, you can probably use it better elsewhere, e.g. to save for your own retirement needs.

You should not refer to "losing money" when you buy insurance. You are paying for the cost of insurance, and not "losing money".

Similarly, when we pay a premium to insure our vehicle or home, we are paying for the cost of insuring the risk. In fact, we are happy that we do not make any claim.

The premium that we pay is "not lost". It is used to pay the claim suffered by other people who meet with an accident or loss. We are helping other people.

If we suffer the loss, other people are helping us. This is the principle of insurance - to share the loss.

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