As a response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant economic impact, ICMIF member Income (Singapore) has extended the application period for its various coronavirus support schemes to next year (2021) to so that customers who have fallen on hard times can continue to stay insured.
Income says it understands that the lives and livelihood of its customers continue to be impacted in different ways. Especially for those who may be more vulnerable and more affected by this crisis, the insurer therefore wants to be able to provide support that can cushion the impact from other unexpected events such as illness or accidents.
The application deadline for support schemes for life and health insurance has been extended by six months up to 31 March 2021, while application for support schemes for general insurance and corporate business plans have been extended all the way to 31 December 2021. Customers whose motorcycles are registered for delivery business can also continue to enjoy a 20% discount on motorcycle insurance premiums up to 31 March 2021.
Income launched the Income Support Schemes (ISS), which comprises seven different schemes, in April 2020 to offer customers options and flexibility to choose the type of support that best suits their financial circumstances. They include premium support options for low-income customers who are likely the hardest hit by the recession, temporary protection plans to stand-in for lapsed regular premium policies with the option of guaranteed reinstatement within a year without underwriting, as well as, premium discount for Income motorcycle policyholders, who have registered the vehicle for delivery business. For eligible customers, who hold specific life, health or general insurance policies and wish to further ease cash-flow for six months, Income offers the premium deferment and instalment schemes. For eligible corporate customers, the premium instalment scheme applies.
By the end of August 2020, Income says it had received more than 11,000 applications for all seven schemes, close to 25% of which are for premium deferment for life and health insurance policies.
Income’s Chief Executive, Andrew Yeo, said, “The pandemic situation has been protracted and its economic impact is unprecedented. While we adapt to new norms in our daily lives, we are also cognisant that many are still trying to cope with the situation socially and financially. We are committed to stay responsive and stand by our customers, especially those most vulnerable amongst us, by offering them various means to better manage their financial situations so that they stay committed to their insurance cover in these tough times.”
Sharper focus to support lower-income customers
Mr Yeo added, “We understand that some customers may have a lot to deal with, especially if they have lost their jobs or closed their businesses due to the pandemic situation and have families to care for. As such, they may overlook their insurance commitments. What we want to try and avoid is the loss of insurance cover, which can help them cushion the impact from other unexpected events such as illness or accidents. Therefore, in addition to extending the application deadline for our support schemes, we will be proactively reaching out to customers who, based on our data analysis, are most affected by this crisis and will benefit from our various support schemes so that they can stay covered by their insurance policies as they focus on working through this challenging period.”
Additionally, Income is also offering further assistance to customers who continue to have difficulties with their cash-flow beyond the granted premium deferment period by providing customers the option of an instalment payment plan (IPP), or a waiver of interest on any premium loans that may kick in. Customers are advised to discuss with their financial advisors all available options that they can potentially exercise, within or outside of their insurance policies, to avoid a policy lapse that would leave them without the necessary insurance coverage.
COVID-19 protection extended to 575,000 policyholders until end of 2020
As the threat of COVID-19 remains and wanting to offer policyholders better peace of mind, Income has extended COVID-19 benefits, until 31 December 2020, to its Personal Accident (PA) plans with infectious disease (ID) cover, Group Employee Benefits policies, as well as, the Income Family Micro-Insurance Scheme (IFMIS), at no additional premium.
The COVID-19 protection, first introduced to these policies in February 2020, benefits 575,000 individuals today. They include an additional 22,000 eligible students who qualify for IFMIS from 1 Sept 2020, which pays out SGD 5,000 in the unfortunate event of death or total and permanent disability of the parent or guardian of an eligible student, who is a recipient of the Ministry of Education-Financial Assistance Scheme. Read more about the IFMIS here.
Improving access to insurance through innovation
Beyond the support schemes and extension of COVID-19 benefits to selected insurance plans, Income’s bite-sized and stackable micro-policy insurance, SNACK, is providing customers a practical and viable option to manage their cash flow by offering flexibility in premium amount and payment frequency.
With SNACK, customers can purchase micro-policies for life, critical illness and personal accident insurance from as low as SGD 0.30 and gradually accumulate micro-policies that offer a specified sum assured that corresponds with the insured’s profile and premiums paid. By also allowing the SNACK insured to decide when and how frequent premiums are paid by linking them to his preferred lifestyle triggers, such as ordering a meal, exercising or taking public transport, staying protected by insurance becomes convenient and accessible. Since its launch in June 2020, SNACK has seen over 20,000 app downloads.
Mr Yeo said, “The launch of SNACK was timely as it offers people the option to be insured by addressing the concern about paying insurance premiums at a specific quantum and over a fixed duration in order to be covered for a specified sum assured, especially during these uncertain times. Built on a model which allows people to build up their insurance coverage at a pace that they are comfortable with, SNACK is breaking down barriers to entry, and offering all of us new freedom and flexibility in protecting ourselves and achieving financial security in both good and bad times.”
Learn more about the development process of the truly innovative SNACK product in our recent guest blog from Max Tiong Oon Choon, Head of Innovation at Income.