Invest round-up: A look at what's new

Skyline of Central Business District after office hours on March 24, 2016.
Skyline of Central Business District after office hours on March 24, 2016. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

The Sunday Times highlights four new insurance offerings

HSBC INSURANCE SINGAPORE

What: GrowthInvest This is a regular premium whole life investment-linked insurance plan (ILP), which allows 100 per cent of the premium to be invested from the first year onwards and provides insurance cover up to the age of 99.

There are two charges - a product administrative fee of 1.2 per cent a year on the net asset value of the units in the policy account for the first 20 premium-paying years; and a fund management charge from 0.4 per cent a year depending on the funds chosen by the customer.

Like most ILPs, this product offers free unlimited fund switches, which allows customers the flexibility to build and rebalance their investment portfolio easily.

However, Mr Patrick Lim, associate director at financial advisory PromiseLand Independent, noted that only 17 funds are currently available for this product.

"It is better to keep fund investments separate from the insurance cover if one is keen on growing his investments. Why restrict yourself to 17 funds when there is a whole universe of choice in terms of funds to match your time horizon and risk profile," said Mr Lim.

There is a guaranteed minimum 110 per cent of regular premiums paid in the event of death or terminal illness (TI).

For example, if the premium is $100,000 but the policy's market value is $50,000, the death or TI payout will still be $110,000, even in market downturns. No prior medical check-up is required.

PRUDENTIAL SINGAPORE

What: PRULifetime Income This is a whole life plan which provides a yearly cash benefit - comprising guaranteed and non- guaranteed portions - from the second policy year onwards. It is meant to be a long-term insurance savings plan which provides income to supplement your retirement and living expenses.

The minimum annual premium outlay is $2,400 and the yearly cash benefit ranges from 1 per cent to more than 6 per cent of the face value, depending on the performance of the funds.

However, do note that the guaranteed portion of the cash benefit starts only from year 10.

PRULifetime Income can be transferred or assigned from parent to child, which means the child can receive the yearly cash benefit throughout his life as long as the policy is in force. After he passes on, a sum of money can be gifted to the first policyholder's grandchild.

There are options to pay the premiums regularly over 10 or 20 years, or as a single premium of minimum $100,000. Medical underwriting is not required.

Financial experts advise consumers to shop around before making an informed choice, as there are similar multi-generation products with different features in the market.

U.S. HEALTH INSURER AETNA

What: Aetna Pioneer for individuals and families This global healthcare product provides customers the flexibility of choosing from five base plan levels - Aetna Pioneer 1750, 2500, 4000, 5000 and 5000+.

Overall annual benefits range from US$1.75 million (S$2.4 million) to US$5 million, with the top Aetna Pioneer 5000+ plan aimed at United States residents.

All plans provide full cover for inpatient treatment, cancer care and emergency medical evacuation as standard. Higher-level plans offer increasingly more benefits, including management of chronic conditions, compassionate visits by family members, dental and vision, and outpatient treatment paid in full for Aetna Pioneer 5000.

Aetna customers can access a range of benefits to support their personal health and wellness goals, such as a Healthy Behaviours premium discount for individuals with a track record of healthy living.

These healthcare plans are more suitable for individuals working overseas.

What: Aetna Summit for groups For groups of three or more people, Aetna Summit provides flexible cover options, and even bespoke cover for larger groups. It helps manage employees' medical costs.

There are four health insurance plans with optional benefits and add-on plans, a selection of hospitals, area of cover options and voluntary deductibles. For instance, choose the Aetna Summit 2500 and you get full cover for inpatient treatment, as well as cover for chronic condition and disease management. You also get access to its online self-help programmes and telephone counselling under the employee assistance programme.

Aetna says submitting claims will be a simple process, done online through its website or app.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 27, 2016, with the headline 'Invest round-up: A look at what's new'. Print Edition | Subscribe