NTUC Income first in Singapore to offer integrated shield plan digitally
By Digital News Asia January 17, 2018
- Fact-finding, decision-making and purchasing can now be done online
- Digital offering in line with Singapore’s aspirations to become a Smart Nation
NTUC Income claimed its lead as a digital health insurer in Singapore as the company became the first to offer integrated shield plans (IPs) digitally today via the online portal healthinsurance.income.com.sg. This marks a milestone in Income’s transformation to become a leading digital insurer in Singapore as it moves to digitise its business and strives to offer customers choice, 24/7 accessibility to insurance and a seamless consumer journey in today’s highly agile business landscape.
Prior to healthinsurance.income.com.sg, much of the fact-finding, decision-making and purchasing of IPs could only be made offline. Those interested in taking out an IP could obtain a quote online but still required an insurance advisor to follow up with them based on the initial information submitted to complete the purchase.
With the new digital proposition, heightened accessibility, convenience and speed will define a new standard by which IPs can be purchased, claimed and managed at anytime and anywhere.
Most significantly, new customers with no pre-existing health conditions will enjoy instant approval and coverage within five to 10 minutes of the application. Claiming a pre- and post-hospitalisation bill can also be completed in seconds by submitting a photo of the bill to the online portal, eliminating the hassle of paper submissions.
To help customers understand the benefit of a private health insurance plan and to make informed decisions about purchasing an IP, the online portal, which is open to Singaporeans and Singapore Permanent Residents below 61 years old, offers scenario-based illustrations as well as easy-to-understand explainers on common health insurance terms such as ‘rider’, ‘as charged’ and ‘deductible’.
Another value-added feature is its Google-like search function, the Coverage Checker, which allows policyholders to assess a suitable hospital ward and obtain an estimation of their bill by selecting from about 80 common medical treatments based on Income’s claims records. While this feature offers coverage clarity in a jiffy, from March customers can also engage with a chatbot directly on the online portal for general queries or questions on upgrading or downgrading their existing IncomeShield plans or riders.
“The new digital proposition plays to the way customers access, engage and use information digitally these days. They are accustomed to quick gratification from online transactions that are often supported by a seamless user experience. We aim to live-up to such expectations and have designed our customer journey on the new online portal based on feedback from consumers," siad Income’s chief operating officer Peter Tay.
“We see value in setting a new standard for customers - old and new - to learn about, engage with and enjoy a positive experience with IP as it is such an essential scheme to safeguard the long-term medical and hospitalisation needs of Singaporeans.”
To ensure customers do not run the risk of over-riding their in-force IP plans, the online portal safeguards customers by carrying out a mandatory check at the start of the customer journey and declines those who currently enjoy IP protection. Customers are also offered an extended free-look period of 90 days compared to the usual 21 days to give them additional peace of mind.
Accelerating digitisation in Singapore
Income’s move to offer its IPs digitally follows closely its announcement last year that the company is embedding cognitive technologies operationally by adopting IBM’s Watson Explorer to automate and improve its pre- and post-hospitalisation claims processes.
The cognitive technology is aimed at empowering claims assessors and will be deployed strategically in areas commensurate with their specialised skill-sets. It will also raise customer-service levels while enhancing employee productivity and satisfaction.
These initiatives complement Singapore’s drive to become a Smart Nation through the use of technology to solve problems and address challenges as well as the Ministry of Health’s Healthcare 2020 Masterplan to improve access, affordability and quality of healthcare services for Singaporeans.
In the last two years, Income has broken new ground with several digital innovations aimed at enhancing its customers’ experience with insurance. In motor insurance, Income launched two schemes – Drive Master and FlexiMileage - that leverage telematics technology and real-time data to allow drivers to influence the motor insurance premiums they pay based on their driving behaviours.
The mobile application Accident Reporting by Income also sets new a industry standard by empowering Income motor policyholders to file an accident report remotely.
For travel insurance, Income introduced the industry’s first travel insurance chatbot Jiffy Jane on Facebook Messenger. The bot enables policy purchase and instant support to travellers’ enquiries on travel insurance.
Income also piloted the insurance industry’s first tele-health programme Orange Care to support the recovery and overall health improvement of IncomeShield policyholders who were hospitalised due to a heart condition by empowering these patients to better understand and manage their conditions in a cost-effective manner.