Press Releases

Press Releases

Uninsured, underinsured lower-income households eligible for special term and health insurance from NTUC Income

2 Mar 2012

Solution covers health and term plans at highly discounted rates, with term coverage of up to $50,000; NTUC Income’s “Made Different” approach helps address market gap in affordable insurance

Singapore, 2 March 2012 – NTUC Income, Singapore’s leading insurer, today launched a special  medical and term insurance package - the most affordable in the market - to meet the long-term health and protection needs of lower-income Singaporeans and permanent residents (PRs). It is specially aimed at those living in three-room HDB flats or smaller.

NTUC Income’s Value Pack is its answer in helping uninsured and underinsured Singaporeans and PRs secure essential life and health coverage which would otherwise be less accessible to them.

Through this latest initiative by NTUC Income, Singaporeans and PRs would have the option of purchasing both or either of the medical (Value Pack Enhanced Incomeshield Plan) or the term insurance (Value Pack Term) components under the Value Pack.

Targeted at about 700,000 residents living in some 260,000 three-room or smaller households, NTUC Income’s new medical insurance will enable lower-income Singaporeans and PRs to afford as-charged medical insurance for B2 and C class wards in restructured hospitals.

Value Pack Enhanced Incomeshield is a specially packaged hospitalisation plan which provides “as charged’ coverage against hospitalisation and surgery costs in a Singapore restructured hospital for ward class B2 and C, and premiums are payable from CPF Medisave funds. (“As charged’ refers to surgery costs that are not subject to any limits unlike standard plans. It is the most affordable private integrated shield plan available in the market and is the only plan which is targeted at ward class B2 and C).

The Value Pack Term, which is priced at about 30% to 40% below NTUC Income’s usual term policy rates, will enable beneficiaries to receive a payout of up to $50,000 in the event of death or total and permanent disability of the insured. (See table for sample premium rates)

As part of its social purpose of doing good to help the lower income groups in Singapore, NTUC Income will handle applications under a simplified underwriting process. Most applicants need to only complete a short questionnaire.

This is the first effort by an insurer to deliver an insurance plan which addresses uninsured and underinsured lower-income households in Singapore.

In October 2010, former Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, speaking at NTUC Income’s 40th anniversary, had highlighted “gaps in Singaporeans’ insurance protection needs” and called for a response from insurers.  Mr Goh said that the most likely reason many Singaporeans are not insured or underinsured is because of the perception that getting the recommended amount of insurance protection is costly and beyond their means.

To address this, NTUC Income will also offer the Value Pack to anyone without a life insurance policy or residing in a household whose monthly income is $3,500 and below. 

To encourage its financial consultants and insurance advisors to reach out and touch target groups, the insurer has just created a special, non-commission based recognition programme called “Orange Heart”. Created in the spirit of the “Purple Heart” Award that pays tribute to the extraordinary achievements of combat soldiers, the Orange Heart Award will recognise these consultants and advisors who put the good of policy holders above themselves.

Speaking at an NTUC Income recognition event for its top financial consultants and insurance advisors, NTUC Social Enterprise Development Council Executive and Guest of Honour Mr Lim Boon Heng said that “Singaporeans are generally underinsured due to their lack of awareness, complacency or according to other commitments of higher priority.”

“The unveiling of this product is again strong proof of NTUC Income’s commitment to its social purpose to provide affordable basic insurance for lower-income groups,” he said.

On the latest initiatives, NTUC Income Chief Executive Tan Suee Chieh said, “NTUC Income was formed forty years ago to insure workers including factory and port labourers.  They formed a high-risk, low earning group who did not make sense for commercial insurers to insure.  Today NTUC Income remains as committed as ever to making insurance affordable and accessible to all, a cause that has become even more relevant for modern Singapore.”

He added, “If we want to be a truly inclusive and strong community, we must not forget those who are at risk of being left behind while the rest of society progresses.  The Value Pack offers this group a chance to afford a basic level of life and health insurance that they need and can afford.  No family should be devastated by the high costs of healthcare or the financial burden that comes after losing a breadwinner, especially when such a situation can be prevented.”

To find out more about and apply for the Value Pack, Singaporeans can visit one of NTUC Income’s five business centres or contact any of its financial consultants and insurance advisors.

The latest announcement comes on the back of NTUC Income finishing its financial year 2011 with premium revenue jumping by 14% to $4.2 billion – the first time in its history that it has crossed the $4 billion mark.

Over the last five years, under CEO Tan Suee Chieh’s leadership, NTUC Income’s insurance operating profit more than doubled to $200 million in 2011, on the back of a doubling of premium revenues.  While NTUC Income has become a higher performing organisation, it remains true to its social mission to put people before profits and make insurance affordable and accessible to all.

Mary Lee

She is 45 years old and works as a customer service officer. Her husband is a 48-year-old taxi driver who is suffering from kidney failure.

Her husband continues to work so as not to place too much financial burden on her. On days when he goes for dialysis or when he is too ill, he would not be able to work and there will be no income.

Mary earns a basic salary of $2,500. On a good month, the household income is about $3,000 - $3,200 (Mary’s salary + allowance + overtime + whatever the husband can contribute).

She has a seven-year old daughter and they also try to support their aged parents (two pairs of parents still living).

In order to minimize expenses and save for future medical expenditure, they downgraded from 4-room to a 3-room HDB flat about two years ago. The family is currently living in Toa Payoh.

She and her husband had in the past bought an insurance policy from an agent who was also a friend whom they trusted. They paid the premiums to this agent faithfully for several years. But when they filed a claim, they discovered that the agent had not been paying the premiums and had been pocketing their money instead.

Now, despite their difficult circumstance, she forces herself to save some money every day. She wants to build up savings for medical expenses and as protection against any unexpected events in the family.

Rashidah

She is a single mother (divorced) with four children and is in her 40s. Her children are aged 26 years (married), 19 years, 16 years and 14 years. One child is wheelchair-bound.

She works as a cook in a neighbourhood school. She is paid about $3,000 a month, from which she needs to buy food. Her income varies and is more than $1,000. She gets assistance from welfare schemes, and some money from her married child. Her wheelchair-bound son’s medical expenses are paid out of a hospital welfare scheme.

She was recently evicted from her flat because she was unable to make the monthly payments. For the past eight months, the family has been living in a rental flat.

She is keen to have some form of protection because she’s worried about her children if anything were to happen to her, but cannot afford the premiums in the market. She would be able to save enough for low-cost insurance.

Anwar & Juliana

This is a couple in their late 30s. They have eight children.

Anwar was involved in a workplace accident and because of this, he had to take more than 60 days of hospitalisation leave. This resulted in him being terminated from his job.

Due to the sudden change in circumstances, the family moved into a two-room rental unit. They had only the wife’s take home pay of $1,120. They then sought assistance from Family Service Centre, a voluntary welfare organisation.

The couple were determined and stayed motivated to get back on track. Over time, Anwar’s health improved. He has since found work as a technician and their combined salary is about $3,500. The family has now moved to their own four-room HDB flat.

With eight dependent children, they need affordable insurance urgently.