NTUC Income launches first integrated proposition for direct purchase of the widest options of life insurance in Singapore with self-serve advisory

Thursday, 30 May 2019

ICMIF member NTUC Income (“Income”) has today widened access to life insurance for  consumers in Singapore with the launch of Online Life and askSage, its life insurance portal and digital adviser for life insurance respectively. This marks a milestone in Income’s push to become both a leading digital and multi-channel insurer in Singapore as it digitalises its core business lines across life, health and general insurance to offer consumers choice and flexibility when engaging with Income.

Income says that not only does Online Life open up life insurance options for direct purchase beyond the current slew of Direct Purchase Insurance (DPI) options from Income, it also integrates seamlessly with digital adviser, askSage, to help consumers make informed decisions and empowers self-serve financial planning at consumers’ convenience anytime and anywhere.

Peter Tay, Income’s Chief Operating Officer, who heads the company’s Digital Transformation Office, said, “The integrated proposition of Online Life and askSage is powerful because, for the first time, consumers are supported with digital assets that enable self-service of life insurance seamlessly online from fact-finding, financial review and needs analysis to direct product identification, comparison and purchase.”

“For digital natives who primarily prefer online engagements, the integrated digital proposition is timely in extending their access to life insurance and closing their protection gap. This is significant as traditional outreach by financial advisers to this segment of the community has proven to be challenging,” Mr Tay added.

While being integrated, Online Life and askSage also cater to consumers of diverse financial savviness by allowing consumers to access the respective platforms separately. For those who are certain about their financial needs, they can leverage Online Life to select and purchase directly a savings or protection plan based on their preferred budget and policy terms. Those who prefer a financial review and needs analysis prior to purchase can access askSage for self-serve advisory and obtain a shortlist of products for direct purchase seamlessly on Online Life.

Widened access through direct purchase of the broadest life insurance product range online in Singapore

To offer consumers choice, Income has made available on Online Life 18 savings and protection plans, of which six are riders, for direct purchase. This is the most comprehensive suite of digital life insurance products by an insurer in Singapore to date.

To complement product diversity, the life insurance portal supports consumers with simple and effective product comparisons to differentiate key product features and benefits to help consumers discover what best suits their financial needs at different life stages. Consumers can also customise premiums, sum assured and policy duration on the portal to optimise relevant product shortlist by Online Life, which offers consumers instantaneous quotations of the desired life insurance plan at the same time.

Depending on the type of life insurance plan and underwriting requirements, it will take about 15 minutes to complete the application and purchase journey on Online Life.

Empower access by strengthening consumers’ capability to direct purchase life insurance through digital adviser, askSage

The algorithm-powered, digital adviser, askSage enhances Online Life’s compelling offering to directly purchase diverse life insurance products by giving consumers seamless access to digital financial advisory on the portal.

Via askSage, consumers are guided through a financial review online to facilitate a review and analysis of their life insurance needs before being offered a shortlist of relevant products. Currently, askSage offers 25 Income savings and protection plans, which include six riders for consumers’ consideration.

Armed with the financial review and needs analysis from askSage, consumers are empowered and assured to purchase life insurance products directly online to plug their life insurance gap. With a better understanding of their needs and priorities, consumers, particularly those who are new to life insurance, are also better placed to engage in effective and meaningful follow-up conversations with financial advisers, if preferred.

To purchase desired life insurance products, consumers can either transition seamlessly from askSage to Online Life to purchase the products directly or through an Income financial adviser.

Encourage access by addressing consumers’ pain points with life insurance

As life insurance is less straightforward, consumers typically prefer more time to analyse their needs and consider factors such as plan type and benefits, policy duration and premium quantum before confirming their product selection and purchase.

With Online Life and askSage, consumers can be more at ease about changing their preferences on these key consideration factors to access different product quotations for assessment before purchase. This value proposition makes life insurance more relatable to consumers as they are now supported in assessing their needs and understanding product options better at their own time and pace.

Support access through seamless online-to-offline consumer touch-points

As life insurance can be complex at times, it is essential that consumers can connect to Income financial advisers seamlessly, from Online Life or askSage, for additional support with ease and flexibility.

Via a ‘live’ chat function, consumers can address queries at any point during the user journey on the digital platforms. They can also leave their contact details to facilitate follow-up discussions with an adviser should they require further financial advisory or help with understanding the product and purchase. Even when consumers have purchased the life insurance product online, they can still request for the service of an Income financial adviser via the Income Contact Centre when required.

To further power-up its online-to-offline capabilities to enhance consumer engagement, Income will be introducing a Personalised Adviser Store to its financial advisers in phases, starting from the third quarter of 2019. The Store allows advisers to build their online profiles and extend their outreach to consumers with selected product links, promotions and value-added information such as blog articles.

Mr Tay said, “We understand that purchasing life insurance is a long-term commitment and requires careful consideration. It helps that Income is sensitive to consumers’ pain points and are set to bring life insurance closer to them by offering not just product diversity but also flexibility with our touch-points to offer them seamless online-to-offline customer support when needed. As we build our digital capability to stay relevant in today’s digital age, we are also integrating our distribution channel in our digital propositions to strengthen our offering as a multi-channel insurer. This is essential in offering our policyholders an unparalleled customer experience with insurance.”

Last year, Income was the first insurer in Singapore to offer Integrated Shield Plan (IP) digitally and it defines a new standard in which IP can be purchased, claimed and managed with heightened accessibility, convenience and speed. As such, the launch of Online Life and askSage is a natural progression for Income after offering general and health insurance, as well as, DPI products online.

Later this year, ICMIF will host its 2019 Biennial Conference in Auckland (New Zealand) and the topic of innovation and digital technology will feature on the agenda. During the Conference (12-15 November 2019), ICMIF members and guest speakers will examine the opportunities for cooperatives/mutuals to strengthen their relationships with their member-customers, and manage the balance between providing customer convenience through both technology and also the service excellence that comes with the cooperative/mutual business model. ICMIF members will present their approaches to developing and embedding a culture of innovation and becoming an agile organisation in order to improve efficiency, respond to change and enhance customer value.