When health is wealth - Prudential Singapore

Know your DNA, know what to eat

Mr Mack Eng, head of medical at Prudential Singapore, says myDNA will help customers better understand how their genes affect their diet, nutrition and exercise, and provide an opportunity to chat with dietitians.
Mr Mack Eng, head of medical at Prudential Singapore, says myDNA will help customers better understand how their genes affect their diet, nutrition and exercise, and provide an opportunity to chat with dietitians.

Prudential recently introduced myDNA, a health tool that analyses genetic information to provide diet and fitness recommendations.

It offers a comprehensive report with fitness and diet recommendations, a mobile application, on-demand chat with a dietitian and a suite of wellness activities to help customers adopt healthy lifestyles.

The myDNA kit is available to consumers at a fee of $100 if they renew their PRUshield extra A Premier rider or take up PRUshield extra A Premier Saver and PRUshield extra A Plus riders by July 31.

New and existing customers who buy selected savings and protection plans during the promotion period from this month to June 30 will receive a complimentary myDNA kit.

Mr Mack Eng, head of medical at Prudential Singapore, says it will help customers better understand how their genes affect their diet, nutrition and exercise, and provide an opportunity to chat with dietitians.

The myDNA tool kit uses the customer's saliva sample to glean valuable insights into what may be the most optimal diet, nutrients and exercise based on an individual's genetic make-up.

For example, individuals can learn how they process vitamins, their sensitivities to carbohydrates, fats and alcohol, and if they are more prone to obesity. Following the DNA assessment report, myDNA provides real-time advice through the myDNA mobile app with dietitians to help individuals reach their health goals.

HEALTH PLANS

Prudential rolled out a male-focused critical illness (CI) plan on Friday called PRUman. The insurer says this is the only standalone CI plan designed for men available here.

Prudential claims data has reflected a continuous rise in diagnoses for male-specific illnesses, such as prostate cancer, over the past five years.

In addition, Ministry of Health studies indicate that one in four men is expected to develop cancer by the age of 75. Prostate cancer is one of the top three cancers diagnosed in men.

For a 35-year-old male non- smoker with $100,000 sum assured, the annual premium for PRUman is $1,152.60 for cover up to age 75.

Likewise, claims for female-specific diseases, such as breast cancer and ovarian cancer, have been increasing over the years.

That prompted Prudential to introduce PRUlady, an enhanced version of the existing PRUsmart Lady II, covering 12 medical conditions compared with 10 previously. PRUlady provides enhanced protection against illnesses that women are more predisposed to, with greater flexibility in pricing and coverage.

A 35-year-old female non- smoker with $100,000 sum assured will face annual premiums of $2,065.50 for cover up to age 75.

Ms Angela Hunter, chief customer officer at Prudential Singapore, says its research has shown a supply-demand gap in the market with regard to male-focused insurance products.

"The specific needs of each and every customer are important to us. We recognise that many people tend to stop work when diagnosed with critical illnesses," she notes.

"With PRUman and PRUlady, we want to ensure that our customers have the financial peace of mind to focus on their health recovery in the event of a crisis."

Applications for both PRUman and PRUlady plans do not require medical examination. The plans provide free biennial health screenings on top of vital protection against gender-specific illnesses. There is a benefit that waives premiums for up to 36 months if there is an eligible illness benefit claim of at least 50 per cent of the sum assured.

For PRUlady, a "maternity cover plus" benefit is offered as an optional add-on for cover against pregnancy complications.

Since the start of this month, Prudential has adopted a claims and age-based price approach for some customers of its PRUshield Extra A Premier, the rider of its Integrated Shield hospitalisation plan covering private hospitals.

The new approach rewards those who stay healthy as future premiums will be determined based on age as well as the customer's claims experience.

Affected Prudential customers could see their rider's renewal premiums increase by up to three times. Conversely, they will enjoy a 10 per cent discount on renewal premiums if there are no claims in the past three policy years.

CRITICAL ILLNESS COVER

Mr Eng recommends that a working adult be minimally covered against the 37 critical illnesses as listed by the Life Insurance Association, such as major cancers, stroke and kidney failure.

"Key factors to consider when deciding how much coverage is sufficient include one's lifestyle needs, budget and ongoing liabilities, which differ from person to person," he says. He also recommends seeking advice from a financial consultant on which policy is most suitable.

Besides being protected against critical illnesses, you should also adopt a preventive approach to health, as early detection allows for the right medical treatment, he adds.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 21, 2017, with the headline 'Know your DNA, know what to eat '. Print Edition | Subscribe