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NTUC Income offers insurance coverage with 'bite-sized premiums' as little as 30 cents

SINGAPOREANS can now pay as little as 30 Singapore cents to get critical illness, personal accident or term life coverage, under NTUC Income’s new micro-insurance model.

Dubbed Snack, these policies allow the insured to gradually accumulate coverage with bite-sized premiums of S$0.30, S$0.50 or S$0.70 tagged to their daily activities, such as travelling via public transport, working out, or ordering a meal.

Snack was conceived after a successful rollout of micro-insurance for Grab drivers, under a partnership between Grab and Income.

The amount insured for the same premium paid will vary according to each Snack user’s demographics, as with traditional insurance. 

For instance, a 25-year-old male non-smoker who sets up his Snack mobile app to pay a S$0.30 premium – in addition to the cost of his commute – for critical illness coverage each time he takes the bus or train, will build up S$321 of coverage per trip.

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This differs from traditional insurance policies that typically require users to be committed to continue paying premiums for a specified contract term.

“Snack removes the barriers to entry, especially for those who are new to insurance, and offers flexibility,” said Income’s chief digital officer Peter Tay at Snack’s official launch on Thursday.

The insured need not commit to any minimum premium or timeframe, he stressed. 

“You can switch between (different) premium levels at any time and decide on when and how frequent you want to pay premiums and stack insurance coverage.”

For now, users can purchase these “micro-policies” each time they pay for public transport with EZ-Link cards, clock 5,000 steps on their Fitbit gadgets, or redeem a deal on dining membership programme Burpple Beyond. 

Visa is another partner that will soon come on board to enable local Visa cardholders to build up coverage with their purchases.

Each Snack micro-policy is valid for 360 days from the date the premium is paid. 

Users can set a cap, of up to S$50, to the amount they are forking out in premiums each week. This cap can be adjusted anytime via the app.

Snack covers up to S$200,000 in the event of death, total and permanent disability, or terminal illness, and up to S$100,000 for accidental death and permanent disability due to an accident. It also offers up to S$200,000 of protection against 37 severe-stage critical illnesses, including major cancers, strokes and severe heart attacks.

Mr Tay noted that Snack’s model may appeal to tertiary students, individuals who have just entered the workforce, as well as gig workers with variable income streams, based on an internal usability study.

Snack’s launch comes almost a year after Income and Grab announced their micro-insurance plan offering critical illness protection for Grab drivers, where drivers can accumulate up to S$200,000 in coverage per trip, over a 360-day period.

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