Saturday, December 17, 2005

MMS initiative has got off to an encouraging start

Since the launch of this initiative one month ago , 40 policyholders had sent in their accident photos to NTUC Income.

This innovative approach helps the insurer to better handle iability dispute between the parties involved in the accident.

The policyholders are encouraged to use the mobilephone to take photographs of the damages to the vehicles immediately at the scene of the accident and to send them by MMS to NTUC Income. With the photographs as additional evidence, the assessment officers will be able to decide more accurately of the apportionment of liability between the parties.

This has proved to be effective. For 50% of these cases, the photographs showed that our policyhbolder was not at fault in the accident. For 40% of the cases, the photographs showed that our policyholder was less at fault compared to the other party.

The photographs help to strengthen the report of our policyholders, in the situation where both parties give different versions of the accidents and damages.

NTUC Income has to deal with about 200 cases of accidents each month, where both parties dispute the facts of the accident. Based on our experience, the use of the "on-the-spot" photographs will help to solve about 50% of the these disputes. This is based on the well known experience, "a picture tells a thousand words".

With the increased popularity of mobilephone cameras, we are confident that more of our policyholders will use this new service.

Policyholders can send their accident photos via MMS to 91INCOME or email us at

They can also call our motor hotline at 67886616 if they have any queries.

Freddy Neo
Senior Manage, Claims
NTUC Income

Friday, December 16, 2005

Policyholder is happy with our review

Dear Mr Tan,

I would like to thank you for reviewing my wife's case. I am pleased to know that you have a team and procedures in place to handle such genuine appeals.

I understand that being the largest insurer in Singapore, sometimes you do face contraints of all sorts. But this review process is necessary as it provides a very positive image as being the largest insurer in Singapore that DOES LISTEN even to small clients like us, regardless of outcome.

Thank you all and once again.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

How can we serve our policyholders better in 2006?

How can we serve We asked our policyholhoders better in 2006? We asked them. Here is the reply from 174 policyholders:

1. What is your top priority for the next 12 months?

* Get a better return on your savings [ including CPF ] 61%
* Increase regular savings 39%
* Re-schedule loan to reduce interest or monthly repayment 12%

2. How do you like to achieve your goal?

* Learn financial planning from an educational website 42%
* Attend an educational seminar 27%
* See a financial adviser 20%
* See an insurance adviser 12%

3. What is your top wish from NTUC Income?

* Offer new products at a discount for existing policyholders 67%
* Organise educational seminars 27%
* Provide free financial planning advice 26%
* Improve customer service 21%

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Know Your Insurance

We invite you to visit this website and try one or more of the topics. You will be asked to give your feedback at the end of the topic. We hope that you find it to be interesting.

Saving for your child

Do you know the answes to these questions?

1. How much should a parent save for a child's education?
2. What happens if the saving is insufficient to fund the tertiary education?
3. Which type of investment is likely to give the best return on the savings?
4. Over a 15 year period, what is the difference between a low return (2% p.a.) and a high return (6% p.a.)?
5. What are the advantage of a flexible saving plan?
6. How can you reduce the risk of investment?
7. What type of rider provides adequate coverage at a low premium?

... and many more.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Is Incomeshield adequate?

You are the most open, frank and trusted CEO I hv known so far. Thank you in advance for allowing me to write directly to you.

Incomeshield advertised "Why buy expensive Shield plans when Incomeshield provides SUFFICIENT cover for B2,B1 and A class wards ?"

Q1. Does this means ALL inpatient sub-limits in Incomeshield plans A,B and C are sufficient to cover all types of operation bills in their respective wards ?

Reply: The sub-limits are sufficient for most types of hospital treatment. It may be insufficient for some major illness. But, I understand that most people are insured under a dread disease policy (life insurance policy), which will pay for these major illness.

Q2. If not, pls advise probability of one exceeding each sub-limits based on Incomeshield past claim records.

Reply: If you select the right ward in restructured hospital, the sub-limits should be sufficient for more than 90% of the cases.

Q3. When will Income offers a rider for "as charged basis, ie. without inpatient sub-limits" per Straits Times report dated 6 Jul 2005, page H21.

Reply: We have introduced a Plan P that offers higher coverage than plan A, and is suitable for private hospital. We are still working on the "as charged" rider, and have not decided on how to implement it.

Strongly believe Income will woo many undecided Shield holders to Incomeshield plans if answers to above questions are publish nationwide.

More educational talks


It is heartening to know that you always have the interests of policy holders at heart - hence the dialogue sessions on Annuity Plans. Can I know whether you are making any more presentations for those who cannot be accommodated in the two sessions organised?


We will be holding more dialogues sessions and educational talks on annuities and other insurance products. You can get a schedule of the talks at our website:

Ideal Plan is better than Unit Trusts

Two visitors posted in my blog - that is is better to invest in a unit trust with a term rider, instead of investing in a investment linked plan. They asked for my views.

Generally, they are correct. Many ILPs have high charges and take away 1 or 2 years of savings. They also have the front end and annual spread.

The Ideal plan from NTUC Income is different. It invest 100% of the regular savings from the first month (like a unit trust). The front end spread is 3.5% and the annual charge is less than 1%. A unit trust usually has a front end spread of 5% and an annual charge of up to 2%.

By investing in our Ideal plan, the investor may be able to get 5% to 10% more over a period of 10 years - from our lower charges. It is better than invest in our Ideal plan (and select our Combined Fund) that a unit trust.

Do attend our educational talk on the combined fund. The schedule of the talk is found at:

Monday, December 12, 2005

Survey: Insurance needs of young parents

108 people aged 30-40 replied to our I-survey. 71% are married with children, and 29% are either married with no children or are singles. 90% are working, and 10% are either self-employed or are looking for a job.

84% said that a young parent set aside $100 to $200 a month as a separate saving for each child.

36% said that a yong parent should insure for 5 to 10 years of earnings; 36% choose 3 to 5 years; 28% choose 1 to 3 years. The average is 5 years.

50% prefer to pay an $1,000 yearly for a life insurance for $30,000 (with return on savings); 37% prefer to pay $150 yearly for term insurance (death and accident) for $100,000; 13% prefer to pay $100 for accident insurance of $200,000.

50% said that a young parent should save 5 to 10% of monthly income on insurance; 26%
will less than 5% and 23% will save 10 to 20%. The average is close to 10%.

78% will choose term assruance (to cover death from all cases) if the budget is limited; 24% will insure for hospital or accident only.

48% prefer to buy a simple, low cost insurance plan first, and do the financial plan later; 44% prefer to do the financial plan immediately.

68% prefer to learn about the basic facts of insurance on your own; 32% prefer to rely on the advice of an insurance agent.

63% prefer to invest in a flexible, long term saving plan that gives an attractive return; 28% prefer to save in a life insurance policy that has a fixed premium and benefit.

76% prefer to buy a separate contracts for protection and for savings; 24% prefer a bundled contract.

49% prefer to approach the insurer directly for a discount: 42% prefer to get a discount from the agent; 9% will buy without a discount (to help a friend to achieve the sales quota).

Period of Survey: 5 Dec - 12 Dec 2005

Survey: Insurance needs of young people

146 young people aged 20-30 repled to our survey. 85% are employed. 15% are still studying or looking for a job.

85% said that young people need life or accident insurance, as accidents can happen.

97% said that young people should have insurance, even if they are not married, so that they can leave something for thier parents.

62% want to save $100 to $200 a month for insurance and savings, when they start work. 38% prefer to spend $10 to $20 a month for insurance protection (ie no saving).

85% said that a tertiary student should spend $10 to $20 a month to be insured, and leave something for the parents.

89% prefer a combination of hospital and accident coverage.

82% prefer to buy a simple, low cost insurance plan first, and make the financial plan later.

72% are willing to learn about the basic facts of insurance on your own at an educational website. 28% prefer to see an insurance adviser.

68% prefer to invest in a flexible, long term saving plan that gives an attractive return. 20% prefer to save in a life insurance policy with fixed premium and benefit. 12%

75% prefer an unbundled contract, with protection and saving purchased separately. 25% prefer a bundled contract.

48% prefer to buy insurance directly, if they can get a discount. 37% prefer to approach an insurance agent for a discount. 15% will help their friend to meet hte sales quota (ie no discount).

Buy term assurance to protect your family

There was a story in the newspaper about a widow with young children. Her husband passed away, and left her with financial liabilities to settle. Later, she became an insurance adviser, and used her example to advocate that all families should be adequately protected.

I agree.

Here are some options for a person age 30 to secure an life insurance protection of $200,000:

- whole life policy $3,000 - $6,000 a year
- term assurance policy $800 (male) $560 (female) a year
- decreasing term assurance $320 (male), $240 (female)a year

When you meet your insurance adviser, you should ask for the three options. You can find that life insurance cover (especially with a decreasing term assurance) can be quite affordable.

IF you can afford to save more, you can consider a whole life policy - which gives you a cash value.

More people now opt to buy a decreasing term assurance and invest the difference in an investment-linked fund.

Make the right choice. Learn about insurance through this educational website:

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Q&A on medical insurance

1. I am currently insured under MediShield and my company's medical insurance. Do I need to purchase additional insurance? If there is a claim, would I be able to claim under all three?

Reply: If you are covered under several medical insurance plans, you can decide on which plans to make your claim. However, the total amount that you can claim should not exceed the actual amount that you have paid. You are not allowed to make a profit by going to hospital.

Generally, if your company already cover you for medical benefits, you do not need to buy another other insurance plan.

However, many people still take Medishield (or Incomeshield) for the following reasons:

- to cover any excess payment that is not covered by the company's plan
- to have continuity of coverage if they leave their existing company.

As the premium for Medishield or Incomeshield is quite low, this approach is quite sensible.

2. Now that MediShield has been privatised, how will it affect my MediShield plan? Would I have to pay higher premiums?

Reply: The Basic Medishield plan remains with CPF board. Those who were covered for Medishield Plus have now been taken over by NTUC Income. We have renamed the scheme to Incomeshield M plans with benefits being enhanced and premiums lowered.

We will offer an option for these policyholders to move from the Incomeshield MA or MB plans to our more popular A or B plans. They will be contacted separately.

3. I went for a surgery recently and found out that my comprehensive medical insurance plan did not cover the X-rays. Why does it not cover the X-rays, which I would think as an essential part of the medical treatment?

Reply: Different insurers offer medical insurance plans with differing terms and conditions. Under Incomeshield plans, we cover x-ray expenses as part of the Room & Board charges.

4. I have elderly parents in their 70s who are in poor health. I am worried that my savings will be wiped out if both should fall in at the same time. What kind of medical insurance can I buy for them?

Reply: All medical insurance plans are underwritten based on latest health conditions. You can discuss with your insurance advisor before deciding on the best insurance plans for them.

If your parent are not insured, you can send them for treatment in Class C ward at government or restructured hospitals. There is a higher government subsidy for these wards. The cost is quite affordable, and the standard of care is quite good.

Many elderly people do not mind being treated in Class C ward, as they do not wish to incur a heavy medical bill.

5. What is "as charged plan" as compared to Incomeshield plan? Does Income offer an alternative to "as charged plan"?

Reply: The "as charged plan" pays the entire bill, but is still subject to the deductible and co-insurance of 10%. The premium is much higher than a similar plan with sub-limits for certain items.

If you go to a re-structured hospital, the bill will be within the sub-limits. There is no need to pay more for a "as charged" plan.

Incomeshield P plan allows insured to go to a private hospital. The benefit limits are 50% to 100% higher than Incomeshield Plan A and would be adequate for majority of private hospital bills.

6. Why should I purchase medical insurance from a cooperative and not a private insurer?

Reply: As NTUC Income is a co-operative, we do not aim to increase profit for shareholders. We actively manage claims to avoid escalation of cost. This allows us to keep the premium rates as low as possible.

Most private insurers aim to make a profit on their medical insurance. They will increase their premium rates to maintain their margin and generate profit for their shareholders. It is better to insure with a cooperative that aims to take care of its policyholders.

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