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. You can even invest in bite-sized amounts with their new SNACK Investment. 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.
They’ve also recently launched their self-serve Micro Investment-Linked Plan (ILP) that allows customers to invest from as little as S$1 with the same everyday activities, and withdraw their investment amount anytime.
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 S$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 S$0.30 premium for critical illness coverage. With each trip taken on the bus or MRT, he can accumulate a micro-policy providing S$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.
SNACK Investment – Industry-first Micro Investment-Linked Plan (ILP)
NTUC Income has also recently launched the SNACK Investment where you are able to make micro-investments when you go about your daily activities on the SNACK by Income mobile app.
Just like their insurance scheme, SNACK Investment also utilises a stackable approach where customers can customise their premiums and make bite-sized investments based on their own comfort level, from as low as S$1.
Every time you tap your EZ-link at the MRT station or make a payment at your favourite Hokkien mee stall, you will be contributing a specific amount to your investment portfolio. This self-serve ILP provides you with the flexibility to adjust the premiums whenever you like and even set a cap per week to ensure that you do not go over budget.
Your accumulated investments will be used to purchase units of the Asian Income Fund at the start of each week. You also won’t have to worry about your funds being locked in, as you are free to withdraw your investment amount anytime you need them.
You’ll also earn distributions from the funds as you build your portfolio and receive more units from the distribution reinvested, though distributions are not guaranteed.
From now till 31 October 2021, new users who apply for SNACK Investment will receive S$30 investment credits to help you kickstart your investment journey.
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: S$0.30, S$0.50 or S$0.70. Your coverage is dependent on how frequently you carry out the activity as well as the premium level you select. As for SNACK Investment, you can choose to invest from S$1 to S$10 each time.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 and investment?
Low financial commitment
Without having to fork out a monthly or annual lump sum of cash for investment or insurance premiums, you can still enjoy some form of insurance coverage. Each insurance premium outlay per activity sets you back just S$0.30 to $0.70, cheaper than a vanilla cone at McDonald’s, while investment premiums range from S$1 to S$10.
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 and your investment portfolio 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 and investment model trumps traditional insurance and investment-linked products 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.
You might prefer investing with a lump sum
As convenient as it is to make bite-sized investments, many who are keen on investing may have sufficient funds set aside for investing and may prefer injecting a lump sum at the start to get the ball rolling. As such, other investment alternatives like robo-advisors may be more appealing for avid investors, especially when they boast higher returns.
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. SNACK Investment may also be great for new investors who are just starting out and do not have sufficient funds or a stable income to commit to traditional ILPs.
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 for both insurance and investments. 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.
As for SNACK investment, you are able to withdraw your funds anytime you’d like, and have the flexibility to customise your premiums according to your financial situation.
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.
Those who are trying out investing
New investors who lack experience and are willing to try their hand at investing might want to consider SNACK investment. Just think of it as a robo-advisor managing your funds for you, with no barrier to entry and hefty service fees. You can essentially make micro-investments without having to worry too much about managing your portfolio.
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. If you sign up for SNACK Investment from now till 31 October 2021, you will receive S$30 investment credits.
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.