fML Reviews: NTUC GIFT

NTUC GIFT review

Written by Chew Jing Xuan

For those who own the NTUC membership card, did you know that being a NTUC member entitles you to beyond just supermarket perks? One of the many benefits would be life insurance with NTUC GIFT- a group term life insurance that NTUC members are entitled to when they join the union. Group insurance are plans that are usually subscribed by employers or group administrator to provide some basic coverage for their employees or members. Around 15% of Singapore’s population are union members – there’s a chance that you are one too if you’re reading this.

What is NTUC GIFT?

NTUC GIFT is a group term life insurance that covers for members of NTUC affiliated unions/associations. It provides coverage for death and total/partial permanent disability. Members are automatically covered if they fulfill these criteria:

  1. Are 16 years old and above and below 65 years old
  2. Have at least 6 months of continuous paid-up union/association membership.

For NTUC GIFT, there is no certificate of insurance as it is a group insurance policy and NTUC is the master policyholder.

Noteable features

#1 Extension of coverage is available after 65 years old

For members who are 65 years old and above are able to opt-in for GIFT Extension to enjoy extended coverage, if they still fulfil the membership tenure criteria. The extension requests are subjected to approval, as well as a token fee of $1-$3 per annum (but this token fee has been waived until 30 April 2022).

#2 Spouses of members are covered as well

NTUC GIFT also covers for members’ spouses against death and total/partial permanent disability, as long as they are between 16 and 65 years old and subject to members meeting the eligibility criteria. Members’ spouses are also eligible for GIFT Extension under the same eligibility criteria as the member.

#3 Union leaders are eligible for higher coverage

Union/ Association leaders are also eligible for double the coverage if they are:

  1. Affiliated to NTUC AND
  2. Registered under the Trade Unions Act or Societies Act.

Premium payment and payout

The premium for NTUC GIFT is fully covered by NTUC, with co-payment from the affiliated unions/ associations. In other words, as long as you continue paying for your NTUC membership fee, which is $117 per annum ($9 per month for Jan-Nov + $18 for Dec), you are able to enjoy this death and TPD coverage (among other benefits, of course).

Payouts for Death/TPD

NTUC GIFT Table
NTUC GIFT payout table for either deaths or TPD for member or his/her family members.

fundMyLife Reviews

With a nominal membership fee that entitles members to a multitude of benefits, NTUC GIFT serves as an extremely affordable basic life insurance for many Singaporeans.

However, there are certain things we need to take note of the policy as well. Firstly, the payout benefits is unlikely to be sufficient coverage for most people. As such, it can only serve as a short-term financial aid for the family.

Is the group insurance worth it? Let’s consider the following scenario. A union member of 10 years encounters an accident, and either dies or experiences TPD. His payout is $40,000, which is 34x of the membership fee he paid. Regular insurance plans have a 90-120x of the premiums paid for varying levels of sum assured, albeit the premiums cost more.

In addition, the policy only covers up to age 65, or age 75 if the GIFT Extension is opted. If one is to rely solely on this policy, there would be a protection gap left after 75 years old. Hence, it is essential that members boost their life protection with other policies, while NTUC GIFT can be a supplement to the other policies.

For more details, head over to NTUC GIFT Brochure to find out more.

Ask fundMyLife financial questions today!

And we have come to the end of our review for NTUC GIFT. We hope this review will help you make a better choice.

If you’re still unsure about what you need, why not head on over to fundMyLife and ask our pool of financial advisers? Alternatively, you can check out our curated pool of individual advisers and ask them questions directly.

Been doing lots of research, but not sure who to engage to take the final step? Look no further! fundMyLife connects you to credible and incredible financial advisers privately and anonymously, based on the financial planning questions that you ask. We aim to empower Singaporeans to make financial decisions confidently.

Follow us on our fundMyLife Facebook page to get exciting updates and your dose of finance knowledge! Alternatively, the Insurance Discussion SG Facebook group is a good place to discuss insurance-related topics with fellow Singaporeans.

 

fML Reviews: NTUC Income VivoLink

NTUC Income VivoLink Review

Investment-linked policies, or colloquially know as ILPs, are policies that combine both protection and investment. Its main draw lies in its flexibility and potential high returns, which comes with high risks as well. NTUC Income offers two ILP products: VivoLink and VivaLink.

We know what you’re thinking. No, VivoLink is not the name of the bridge to VivoCity. VivoLink is the sibling investment-linked plan (ILP) of VivaLink, which we reviewed in our previous article. In this article, fundMyLife examines NTUC Income VivoLink’s features and reviews it.

Disclaimer: we are neither endorsing nor hating on these products, nor ILPs in general. We believe that there’s a time and plan for everyone. As such, it is all the more important that consumers are aware of the pros and cons of these products.

What is it?

VivoLink is a regular premium ILP.  The plan pays the basic benefit or cash-in value (whichever is higher) in the event of death or total and permanent disability (TPD) before the age of 70. VivoLink also pays the basic benefit or cash-in value in the event of diagnosis of dread disease, or critical illness.

The death benefit depends on your age range when you die, i.e. the younger you are the higher the payout is. In the case of accidental death or TPD, the amount received is higher compared to the same age bracket. Restrictions apply to accidental deaths and TPD, i.e. you’d get a lower payout if risky activities or occupations caused the death or TPD.

Notable features

This is a list of selected features of the plan that we thought were interesting/unique. Other information like calculation of benefits can be found here.

#1 Retrenchment benefit

One thing that stood out in the plan was the retrenchment benefit. If you have not been able to find employment for three months, you can choose not to pay the premiums for a maximum of 24 weeks. Your coverage is not affect during this. Note: you must have paid a minimum of six months’ premiums.

#2 Extensive range of funds

One draw is that you can choose from a wide range of funds. You can invest in as many funds as you need to, provided that you can set aside a minimum amount for each fund that you put in. Choosing VivoLink also gives you access to NTUC Income’s very own Aim Series. The Aim Series funds are a mix of equities, bonds, and alternative assets such as commodities and property. It is composed of five different funds: 1) Aim Now, 2) Aim 2025, 3) Aim 2035, and 4) Aim 2045. As its name suggests, you can choose the fund based on the target year that you need it. For example, if you want the money in 2045 you choose Aim 2045. Besides the amount of time, the funds also differ in risk profiles. Aim Now has the lowest risk profile whereas Aim 2045 has the highest.

#3 Policy loan

As opposed to its sister plan VivaLink, you can apply for a policy loan if you are unable to pay the premiums. The current policy loan amount (as of May 2018) is either 50% of the total cash value of the policy, or 80% of the net investment amount – whichever is lower. The interest rate of the loan is set at 5.5% p.a. If the amount of the loans and interest is more than the cash value of the policy, all benefits will stop.

Insurance details

NTUC VivoLink Premium
The minimum and maximum premium per unit time. Table adapted from https://www.income.com.sg/NTUCIncome/CMSTemplates/PrintFaqs.aspx?pId=7672

There is no discount for paying annually, and as such for cash flow purposes it might be a good idea to go for monthly payment instead of yearly where you pay a lump sum.

VivoLink Review

The retrenchment benefit is useful for those who stand a high chance of retrenchment/unemployment. PMETs are at high risk of being retrenched. While older professionals are at risk of being retrenched, younger workers are not spared as well. Besides the retrenchment benefit, VivoLink has other features that allow temporary respite for customers who cannot pay the premiums. For example, policy loans help deal with the matter temporarily. It’s a crutch, and it’s dangerous to depend too much on a crutch.

One thing – there are no riders available for this plan. However, the plan does cover death, TPD, and dread disease/critical illness. Compared to other plans, dread disease/critical illness usually comes as a rider to a main life insurance plans. While there is dread disease/critical illness coverage, you do not have the option of adding an early critical illness rider. You will have to supplement it with other early critical illness plans out there. In addition, riders that waive premiums are also unavailable so you must take note of that too.

All in all, VivoLink is relatively more flexible in investment due to a larger pool of funds, but is less so for protection compared to its sibling ILP. The critical illness coverage in the base plan offsets the lack of riders.

Fun fact: Muslims can consider NTUC Income’s offerings because NTUC handles Shariah-compliant funds in Singapore. The Takaful Fund is one of the special funds in NTUC Income that invests in global equity markets via Shariah-compliant instruments.

Conclusion

That’s all folks! We hope that you understand VivoLink a bit better now. It is an interesting product that may or may not suit you, depend on your financial planning portfolio.

However, if you’re still unsure what you need, why not head on over to fundMyLife and ask our curated pool of financial advisers? Alternatively, you can check out our curated pool of individual advisers and ask them questions directly.

Been doing lots of research, but not sure who to engage to take the final step? Look no further! fundMyLife connects you to credible and incredible financial advisers privately and anonymously, based on the financial planning questions that you ask. We aim to empower Singaporeans to make financial decisions confidently.

Follow us on our fundMyLife Facebook page to get exciting updates and your dose of finance knowledge! Alternatively, the Insurance Discussion SG Facebook group is a good place to discuss insurance-related topics with fellow Singaporeans.

fML Reviews: NTUC Income Vivalink

NTUC Income VivaLink Review

Investment-linked policies, or colloquially know as ILPs, are policies that combine both protection and investment. Financial advisers (or at least errant ones) often promote these to consumers as a way to have the best of both worlds. It’s a controversial plan, with plenty of threads on forums cautioning people of its lack of utility.

In the previous comprehensive list of ILPs in Singapore, we briefly reviewed NTUC Income’s ILP offerings – VivoLink and VivaLink. In this article, fundMyLife takes a closer look at one of these two policies, VivaLink and reviews it.

Disclaimer: we are neither endorsing nor hating on these products, nor ILPs in general. We believe that there’s a time and plan for everyone. As such, it is all the more important that consumers are aware of the pros and cons of these products.

What is it?

VivaLink is a regular premium ILP. In the event of death or total and permanent disability (TPD) before age 70, the plan pays the basic benefit or cash-in value, whichever is higher, minus any applicable fees and charges. In the case of death or TPD due to an accident, you will also receive an additional 100% of the sum assured or $100,000. However, the additional money might be lower if certain risky activities are responsible for the accident.

Noteable features

This is a list of selected features of the plan that we thought were interesting/unique.

#1 Guaranteed insurance coverage in the first 10 policy years

A relatively attractive draw, since you’ll never know what might happen to you in the next 10 years.

#2 Additional riders

  1. Dread disease cover: dread disease is another term for critical illness, and if the insured individual diagnosed with such a disease he or she is paid the sum assured.
  2. Dread disease premium waver: The rider waives future premium payments for VivaLink if you are diagnosed with any of the dread diseases.
  3. Payor premium waver: If the insured person is not you – the policyholder and payor – and you die or experience TPD, future premium payments are waived.
  4. Enhanced payor premium waver: Similar to payor premium waver, except the waiver happens when/if you are diagnosed with dread disease as well.

#3 Benefits when life events happen

One notable feature is the ability to increase coverage without medical assessment when you enter new life events and/or receive additional units for increase in regular premium. NTUC Income defines life events as “turning 21 years old, getting married, purchasing a residential property or becoming a parent.”

There are a few more features that we observed, but were self-explanatory. For example, bonus allocation of units in the 15th and 20th policy year. There’s also a retirement option that allows you to reduce insurance coverage to $0 from 55 years old onwards to maximize wealth accumulation.

Insurance charge

We here at fundMyLife love data. As such, it was fortunate that we found information on the yearly insurance charge for death and TPD for each $1,000 insured. Based on the data, it seems like the most important factors are sex and smoking status.

VivaLink premium graph
The annual insurance charge for death and TPD. Source: https://www.income.com.sg/forms/policy-conditions/vivalink.aspx?ext=.pdf

Based on the graph above, the yearly insurance charge for death and TPD becomes exponential after you’re 40 years old. Unsurprisingly, male smokers pay the most, followed by female smokers, male non-smokers, and finally female non-smoker. Female smokers and male non-smokers pay about the same for the annual insurance charge for most of the time.

VivaLink Review

As observed from the graph above, VivaLink is good for a relatively cheap death and TPD protection for an early part of your life. With the additional riders, you can also enjoy critical illness coverage and premium wavers in case of any mishaps.

The life event feature was interesting because of the acknowledgement that an individual’s needs change over time. This feature is useful because you require additional medical underwriting when you want to increase your insurance coverage. In addition, there’s no change in the monthly premium if you exercise the first option to increase coverage.

The extra dread disease/critical illness rider is useful, but there is no rider for early critical illness. For that, you will have to purchase a separate plan. In general, this plan is a useful plan if you are confident that you will enter/can enter the stated life events.

Fun fact: Muslims can consider NTUC Income’s offerings because NTUC handles Shariah-compliant funds in Singapore. The Takaful Fund invests in global equity markets via Shariah-compliant instruments.

Conclusion

That’s all folks! We hope you found the review useful and sheds more light into what VivaLink is all about.

If you’re still unsure what you need, why not head on over to fundMyLife and ask our curated pool of financial advisers? Alternatively, you can check out our curated pool of individual advisers and ask them questions directly.

Been doing lots of research, but not sure who to engage to take the final step? Look no further! fundMyLife connects you to credible and incredible financial advisers privately and anonymously, based on the financial planning questions that you ask. We aim to empower Singaporeans to make financial decisions confidently.

Follow us on our fundMyLife Facebook page to get exciting updates and your dose of finance knowledge! Alternatively, the Insurance Discussion SG Facebook group is a good place to discuss insurance-related topics with fellow Singaporeans.