SINGAPORE: NTUC Income has launched Singapore's first Integrated Shield Plan (IP) that can be purchased online, the insurer announced on Wednesday (Jan 17).
The launch allows customers to avoid the hassle of meeting an insurance agent, allowing them to purchase the plan via NTUC Income's online portal.
IP consists of the universal MediShield Life coverage run by the Central Provident Fund Board, as well as any private insurance a person may have. This is typically to cover Class A or Class B1 wards in public or private hospitals.
NTUC Income's platform offers the IP to Singaporeans and Singapore Permanent Residents below 61 years old. It aims to help users better understand insurance through scenario-based illustrations.
Users who are confused by technical health insurance terms such as "rider", "deductible" and "as charged" will also be able to get explanations on what these mean on the platform.
According to NTUC Income, customers with no pre-existing health conditions will get their coverage approved within five to ten minutes of applying. Prior to this, customers could only obtain a quote online, but would still require an insurance advisor to follow up with them to complete the purchase.
Claims for pre- and post-hospitalisation bills can also be done through the portal. Policy holders can submit a photo of their bill to the online portal, with no need for paper submissions, NTUC Income added.
The portal also features a coverage checker, a Google-type search function which helps policyholders assess a suitable hospital ward type and obtain an estimate of their bill.
A chatbot is also available to answer general queries. As the entire online process is self-serve, there will be no insurance agent assigned to the customer.
NTUC Income's Chief Operating Officer Peter Tay stressed that the portal caters to the way customers engage with information digitally.
“They are accustomed to quick gratification from online transactions and a seamless user experience," he said.
"In this regard, we aim to live up to such expectations and have designed our customer journey on the new portal based on feedback from consumers."
Mr Tay added that customers who buy their IP online will be offered a "free look" period of 90 days and will get a full refund should they change their minds during this period.
The launch is part of NTUC Income's ongoing transformation to digitise its business. It also complements Singapore’s Smart Nation drive, and is in line with the Health Ministry’s Healthcare 2020 Masterplan to improve access, affordability and quality of healthcare.
Some of Income's other digital innovations in the insurance sphere over the past two years include an Accident Reporting App for drivers to file an accident report remotely via a mobile application, as well as a travel insurance chatbot called Jiffy Jane that is available on Facebook Messenger.