Financial News and Advice in Singapore

SNACK by NTUC Income: New Insurance Lets You ‘Pay’ For Coverage With Everyday Activities

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Billed as the future of insurance, you could accumulate coverage across Term, Personal Accident and Critical Illness as you take the MRT or go for a run. Should you be SNACK-ing on this? 

Traditionally, insurance plans are purchased with regular premiums paid automatically through GIRO or credit cards. The premiums vary depending on your age, coverage required and even your job. 

But now, this model is set to change; a new digital insurance launched by NTUC Income, SNACK looks to disrupt the insurance market with micro premiums, a concept whereby the insured stacks up coverage in the background just by going about his/her daily activities. A minute amount (think 30 cents) is deducted out of a selected daily activity to be channeled to the insurance premium payment.

SNACK – Singapore’s first stackable (and snackable) insurance 

Enter SNACK, NTUC Income’s industry-first insurance proposition that rethinks the way consumers engage with, purchase and obtain insurance protection in Singapore. SNACK currently offers three basic insurance products: term life, critical illness and personal accident.

Arguably a supplement to traditional insurance, SNACK makes insurance accessible for consumers through bite-sized insurance premiums. Through a neat mobile application, SNACK allows you to stack and accumulate insurance coverage by paying premiums from as low as $0.30. 

These micro-premiums are linked to what NTUC Income calls triggers; the triggers can be everyday activities such as exercising, public transport commutes or buying a takeaway meal. Each time you complete an activity, you will, well, trigger the payment of the micro-premium. With each micro-premium paid, you’d then start getting protected by a micro-insurance policy that provides coverage for 360 days. 

For example, a 25 year-old non-smoking male selects transport as the trigger on the SNACK app. He pays a $0.30 premium for critical illness coverage. With each trip taken on the bus or MRT, he can accumulate a micro-policy providing $321 sum assured. 

“With its micro-premium and stackable coverage propositions, we believe SNACK is the future of insurance as it enhances insurance accessibility and ultimately, bridges protection gaps and fulfils a larger purpose of getting everyone meaningfully insured,” says Peter Tay, NTUC Income’s Chief Digital Officer.

Which everyday activities (triggers) earn you coverage? 

Choose your trigger: transport, food and drink or steps. These triggers will be linked to the platform or device that records this activity, such as Fitbit, Burpple and EZ-Link. 

For each trigger, you can toggle across three premium levels: $0.30, $0.50 or $0.70. Your coverage is dependent on how frequently you carry out the activity as well as the premium level you select. 

  1. Taking public transport: Each time you take the MRT or bus ride with your EZ-Link card, you will also pay your selected premium to receive a micro-insurance policy.
  2. Workouts: Hit 5,000 steps with your Fitbit to trigger the premium payment. The more times you reach 5,000 steps, the more coverage you earn. If you run and clock 5,000 steps just once a week, you will only pay the micro-premium once a week. 
  3. Having a meal: Accumulate coverage each time you redeem a Burpple 1-for-1 deal. This means that for every meal or drink you consume with Burpple, not only do you add to your calorie count, you also add to your insurance coverage. 

What’s so good about this new model of insurance?

Low financial commitment 

Without having to fork out a monthly or annual lump sum of cash for insurance premiums, you can still enjoy some form of insurance coverage. Each premium outlay per activity sets you back just $0.30 to $0.70, cheaper than a vanilla cone at McDonald’s. 

Even if you were to completely stop your triggers, you’ll continue to be covered under whatever coverage you have accumulated thus far, for the remainder of the 360 policy days. 

Accumulate coverage without overthinking (or even thinking at all) 

If you are a consummate foodie who’s already trying out a new eatery every other day anyway, SNACK is practically designed to take zero effort on your part to get into insurance, especially if your portfolio is a little too basic and needs beefing up. 

With the insurance plan built into your lifestyle habits, everything is automated, you’re your own financial planner, and you’re in control.

Why you might not be SNACK-ing on this after all

While this new insurance model trumps traditional insurance in innovation, there are still reasons why this might not be the solution for everyone. 

More activities required to accumulate substantial coverage 

Compared to the wholesome coverage under a traditional insurance plan, the coverage provided by the micro-insurance plans falls short. 

To earn yourself higher insurance coverage, you have to go out of your way to engage in more trigger activities. This could mean having to restrict yourself to F&B purchases on Burpple, or extra trips to the supermarket to clock more steps. 

You’ve got yet another plan to track

The insurance coverage you earn is not fixed. To find out how much coverage you are receiving with SNACK, you will have to frequently check on your coverage accumulation in the app. If you already have existing term, critical illness or personal accident plans, this would mean one more insurance plan to keep track of—not forgetting the daily steps you’re also still tracking on your FitBit.  

Who should get SNACK-ing? 

Keep in mind that SNACK is not meant to replace traditional insurance. However, it can be a good starting point for many. You can get started on SNACK by downloading the SNACK app and creating an account with MyInfo. 

Here are three types of people that can consider SNACK:

Those who do not have any insurance coverage yet 

SNACK lowers the barrier to entry to get insurance coverage. For fresh graduates, students and others lacking insurance coverage, SNACK could be a great way to start getting yourself protected without incurring large premium investments. Slowly accumulate more coverage as you go about your everyday activities. 

Those that do not have a fixed income stream

For those in the gig economy, uncertain times like COVID-19 can adversely affect your cashflow. With its affordable premiums, SNACK can bridge this protection gap. Customers need not commit to a large premium amount and can also opt out anytime they no longer want to pay the premium. If you are facing cashflow issues, you can also consider deferring your insurance premiums.  

Those who are keen to supplement their current insurance coverage

If you are already committed to some of these trigger activities on a daily basis, why not earn additional coverage by committing a teeny weeny premium each time you complete the activity? This can supplement your current insurance plans, especially during periods when there are gaps in your coverage.

If you think SNACK is for you, you can learn more about SNACK by Income here or download the app from the App Store or Google Play store here.

Protected up to specified limits by SDIC.

Note: This is only product information provided. You may wish to seek advice from a qualified adviser before buying the product. If you choose not to seek advice from a qualified adviser, you should consider whether the product is suitable for you. Buying an insurance product that are not suitable for you may impact your ability to finance your future healthcare needs.

If you decide that the policy is not suitable after purchasing the policy, you may terminate the policy in accordance with the free-look provision, if any, and the insurer may recover from you any expense incurred by the insurer in underwriting the policy.

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By Ching Sue Mae
A flat white, an adventure-filled travel and a good workout is her fuel. This Manchester United fan enjoys sharing knowledge on personal finance while chasing the dream of financial independence.