Invest Round-Up

No hassle, no-frills term life insurance

Mr Alexis Calla, global head of investment strategy and advisory at Standard Chartered Bank and Singapore Life CEO Walter de Oude.
Mr Alexis Calla, global head of investment strategy and advisory at Standard Chartered Bank and Singapore Life CEO Walter de Oude. PHOTOS: STANCHART / HSBC

The Sunday Times highlights a new fund, a wealth management tool, insurance plans and a travel claims payment service

UNITED SGD PLUS FUND BY UOB ASSET MANAGEMENT

United SGD Plus Fund seeks to maximise long-term returns through capital appreciation and income by investing primarily in fixed-income or debt securities in Asia.

The factsheet says investors can enjoy monthly distributions of up to 4 per cent a year but note that distributions are non-guaranteed.

The fund is invested mainly in Asian investment-grade and high-yield bonds that offer attractive yields compared with other key regions. Asian fixed-income securities provide attractive yields with relatively low defaults. The fund also provides diversification from other asset classes with its relatively lower volatility, without compromising on returns.

The United SGD Plus Fund is managed by Ms Joyce Tan, senior director and head of fixed income Singapore at UOB Asset Management. She also manages the United SGD Fund which, under her stewardship, grew more than 50 times from $27.5 million in 2007 to $1.51 billion as of the end of August this year.

The minimum initial investment amount is $1,000 or US$1,000 (S$1,400), while the subsequent amounts can be $500 or US$500.

The sales charge is 3 per cent while the annual management fee is 0.9 per cent.

BACK TO BASICS

This introduction of plain-vanilla term insurance is a deliberate departure from the many new products in the market compounded with various interesting but equally complicated features.

CHIEF EXECUTIVE WALTER DE OUDE of Singapore Life, on the firm's term life and critical illness plans.

PERSONALISED INVESTMENT IDEAS BY STANDARD CHARTERED BANK

This is a digital wealth management tool that customises investment ideas in minutes. The tool helps priority banking clients respond faster to market opportunities with automated investment ideas based on factors such as their risk profile and the bank's market views.

It is now live in Singapore and Standard Chartered Bank plans to introduce it in other Asian markets.

The tool, which is available on the relationship manager's tablet-based sales-and-service device, combines advanced algorithms and analytics with the bank's market expertise to generate and prioritise investment ideas for funds and bonds, tailored for each client.

After a conversation with a relationship manager, a client is e-mailed a report with suggestions for buy/sell/hold. The relationship manager will also advise clients on the suitability of a product based on their needs and objectives, and help them to act on their chosen idea.

Mr Alexis Calla, global head of investment strategy and advisory at Standard Chartered Bank, says: "Using advanced analytics, we have harnessed the multi-source market views developed by the bank's investment experts, our client insights and data on wealth management solutions to develop a capability that can instantly generate investment ideas unique to each client's profile."

TERM LIFE AND DIRECT TERM LIFE PLANS BY SINGAPORE LIFE

Last month, local independent insurer Singapore Life launched its Term Life policy, a regular-premium term plan that provides cover at competitive premiums. It offers cover for death or terminal illness and does not have a cash surrender value.

Customers can choose to pay premiums monthly, quarterly, semi-annually or annually. They can also adjust the plan at any time. This includes increasing or decreasing the base benefit sum assured during the period of cover or adding or removing supplementary benefits during the policy term.

Singapore Life also offers direct term life insurance that covers for death and total and permanent disability under three term options - five years, 20 years and up to age 65. There is also an optional critical illness rider.

Customers can buy their own insurance on their own terms with an expedited approval process on the Singapore Life website.

Chief executive Walter de Oude says: "Singapore Life's term life and critical illness plans aim to fill the gap in catering to customers who are looking for adequate protection with minimal complexity.

"This introduction of plain-vanilla term insurance is a deliberate departure from the many new products in the market compounded with various interesting but equally complicated features."

Singapore Life says that its premiums are competitive. For instance, a $400,000 cover for term life and disability for a 50-year-old non-smoker will incur an annual premium of $757. This is the lowest among the largest insurers in Singapore, it claims.

It is also hassle-free as there is no requirement for a medical test for policy coverage up to $2 million.

As a launch promotion, customers of term life plans, including critical illness and disability riders, who submit applications at www.singlife.com by Dec 31 will get up to 18 per cent discount throughout the policy term selected.

INSTANT TRAVEL CLAIMS PAYMENT SERVICE BY AIG SINGAPORE AND DBS BANK

AIG Singapore's policyholders who are DBS Bank or POSB account holders can expect immediate payouts to their bank accounts once travel insurance claims have been approved, without waiting for cheque payments.

For example, for simple claims involving flight or baggage delays, policyholders can expect payouts in just three working days, down from eight.

The service could benefit up to half a million AIG Singapore travel insurance policyholders, with around 40,000 travel claims expected to be processed each year.

Ms Cady Ho, AIG Singapore's vice-president, chief claims and customer officer, said that consumers are increasingly seeking faster transactions and more sophisticated customer experiences.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 05, 2017, with the headline 'No hassle, no-frills term life insurance'. Print Edition | Subscribe