Invest round-up

A look at new financial products

The company name is seen displayed on top of AIA Central at the financial Central district in Hong Kong, China.
The company name is seen displayed on top of AIA Central at the financial Central district in Hong Kong, China.PHOTO: REUTERS

The Sunday Times highlights insurance and savings offerings in the market

AIA SINGAPORE

AIA Wealth Pro Advantage plan

Underlining the plan is a 2-in-1 "Savest" concept that offers the opportunity to save and invest for the long term. Half of the premium goes into the savings portion, which gives customers growth through annual declared bonuses that then become guaranteed.

The other half goes to the investing portion that feeds into a selection of funds created in partnership with Mercer Investment Consulting. Customers can also construct their own portfolio from AIA's suite of investment-linked insurance funds.

AIA offers three premium payment terms of five, 15 and 25 years.

Optional add-ons or riders are available so that the plan is not disrupted in unforeseen circumstances such as critical illness.

This bundled product is not easy to understand and customers are encouraged to weigh the pros and cons before rushing in.

You might be better served by having separate tools for saving and investing.

Note that the savings portion of the plan has some guaranteed cash values, but not the investment portion whose performance is dependent on the funds' performance.

This means there is a possibility that you might get less than your initial capital back. The insurer may also declare lower bonus rates than what is illustrated.

If customers decide to surrender this plan in the first two policy years, they will get nothing back.

The death benefit in the first five policy years is stated as 200 per cent of premium paid into the savings portion, which some might misinterpret as 200 per cent of total premium, which is not the case.

AIA says there is flexibility to make partial withdrawals at any time from the third policy year onwards, but do note this is only applicable for the investment portion.

AIG SINGAPORE Premier Client Solutions (PCS)

Marketed as a premium product, PCS is a home owner insurance policy providing greater coverage for loss and damage to homes, valuables and personal liability.

It offers protection against risks associated with higher-value homes and unique collections such as art, wine, jewellery, handbags, and even bicycles and sports equipment.

PCS also provides tailored insurance solutions for unique lifestyles so that disruptions are minimised for policyholders in the event of mishaps.

Not only does the policy cover damage or losses after the incident, it also offers access to experts who can help resolve policyholders' problems.

For example, the birthday party of a policyholder's 15-year-old daughterwas ruined when a burst pipe caused significant water damage in the basement.

AIG's claims specialist solved the problem by finding an alternative location and covered the additional venue costs.

In another example, AIG hired a professional diver who recovered a diamond bracelet that had slipped off its customer's wrist into the waters at a marina, instead of simply paying the claim.

PCS' annual premiums are higher than premiums for regular home contents plans. They range from $800 to five-digit sums, as the insurance cover is tailored to meet the specific needs of the customer, as well as the items insured.

CITIBANK SINGAPORE
Citi MaxiGain Savings Account

The two-level interest savings account comes with a base interest rate of 80 per cent of the one-month Singdollar Singapore Interbank Offer Rate (Sibor) on their daily account balance, up to the first $150,000.

Customers will get an interest rate of 5 basis points per year on the balance above the capped amount.

The balance in the savings account will also stand to gain a loyalty bonus interest rate of 0.1 per cent a year each month, up to a maximum of 1.2 per cent.

The bonus interest is computed based on the lowest deposit balance and the number of calendar days in the previous month.

By fulfilling the necessary conditions, the customer can achieve up to 2 per cent interest a year (0.8 per cent base plus 1.2 per cent bonus) from the 13th month onwards.

To qualify for the base interest rate, customers have to retain a minimum daily balance of $10,000 in their Citi MaxiGain savings account. There is no minimum daily balance amount required for earning the bonus interest rate and interest will start accumulating on the first dollar.

Customers can earn a higher bonus interest rate if their lowest balance in a month is equal to or greater than the lowest balance in the previous month.

Mr Charles Wong, head of retail banking at Citibank Singapore, said: "We want to instil a habit in our customers to start saving more for their future needs, yet empowering them to earn more interest at a faster rate through a product that is straightforward and simple to understand at the same time."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 01, 2016, with the headline 'A look at new financial products'. Print Edition | Subscribe