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Think You Can Spot An Investment-Linked Plan When You See One? Find Out How Well You Fare

Investment-Linked Plans naming: Deliberately deceptive or unintentionally ambiguous?

 

This article first appeared on fundMyLife, the platform that connects you to the right advisers.

Investment-linked policies (ILP) are policies that contain both investment and protection components. It is a popular form of insurance sold; Life Insurance Association reports that around 20% of this quarter’s new policies are from ILPs alone. The flexibility is attractive and is certainly attractive for those who want their cake and eat it too.

However, based on the questions that come in through fundMyLife, it seems that our users often unwittingly purchased an ILP. It could be a miscommunication between the adviser and the user, but usually the realisation happens a little too late. We here at fundMyLife are a curious bunch, and wonder why this is the case. We previously wrote about why people might have ended up with an ILP.

In this article, fundMyLife takes a look at different ILPs available in Singapore by company and see if the product names give any clue to their nature as an investment-linked policy. Note that this is by no means an exhaustive list of all ILPs.

Who knows, you might own one of these and may not even know it.

AIA

ILP Names: AIA Pro Lifetime Protector, AIA Pro Achieve, AIA Asset Builder, AIA Platinum Pro Secure, AIA Asset Growth, AIA Wealth Builder

AIA is a star in this list, with six ILPs offered. According to old lists of ILPs, they actually have more than that – two more for a total of eight plans in fact. Currently, two of the plans (Pro Lifetime Protector and Platinum Pro Secure) participate in AIA’s wellness benefits program, AIA Vitality as well.

One of the main differences between the plans is how your money is invested. More specifically, the difference lies in where your money is taken from. For example, AIA Asset Growth and AIA Wealth Builder use money from your SRS account, whereas AIA Asset Builder uses money from your CPF. However, the names do not suggest anything that it might be a linked policy, which may confuse some.

Great Eastern

ILP Names: Smart Invest, Smart Life Advantage

Great Eastern has only two ILPs, but with names that don’t say “ILP” from the first glance. Smart Life Advantage is more flexible between the two, allowing adjustment between protection and investment any time. Furthermore, you can add riders to Smart Life Advantage for personal accident, critical illness and early critical illness cover. As such, think of Smart Invest as the starter pack of ILP, from Great Eastern.

Manulife

ILP Names: InvestReady, Manulink Investor, Manulink Enrich

The naming of the products of Manulife’s ILPs is good, with two out of three with the word “link” in its name. One big difference between Manulink Investor and Manulink Enrich is that the former is a single-premium plan whereas the latter is a regular premium one. We wrote about the aspects of premiums here.

InvestReady is relatively more comprehensive than the other two, with extra features like automatic fund rebalancing and regular income when you opt for dividend-paying unit trust funds.  Since the former is a single-premium plan, you’ve the option to use CPF and SRS accounts to pay for it.

AXA

ILP Names: AXA Wealth Treasure, AXA Pulsar, INSPIRE Duo, INSPIRE FlexiProtector, INSPIRE FlexiSaver

Coming in second with five ILPs is AXA. AXA Wealth Treasure is the most comprehensive ILP in the list, but also a slightly higher premium per month compared to INSPIRE FlexiSaver and INSPIRE FlexiProtector that require SGD100/month. INSPIRE Duo is a single-premium plan which lets you pay using either cash, CPF, or SRS.

Another notable feature we observed was that AXA Wealth Treasure and Pulsar allowed for Life Replacement Option (LRO). It is an option that replaces the life assured of the plan with an immediate family member. This allows legacy planning – a beast of a topic for another day. We haven’t seen this feature explicitly stated in other companies’ plans.

Pulsar is interesting as it has a minimum premium of SGD300/month, and accepts both SGD and USD. Pulsar holders can also invest in sub-funds, which require considerable more time and expertise. However, all of the names do not truly reflect the nature of their products.

Prudential

ILP Names: PRULink SuperGrowth Account, PRUSelect, PRULink SuperSaver Account, PRUSelect Vantage, PRUSelect Vantage Premier

Tied with AXA with five plans, Prudential has a variety of linked plans as well. Similar to AXA above, the differences between the plans lie in the comprehensiveness, flexibility, mode of payment, and payment term. For example, PRUSelect Vantage and its Premier brethren is that the former is a regular premium plan whereas the latter is a single-premium plan.

However, PRUSelect Vantage has riders available wherease PRUSelect Vantage Premier does not, possibly due to the single-premium nature of the latter. PRULink SuperGrowth and PRULink SuperSaver are both single-premium plans as well, but have relatively lower premium amount compared to PRUSelect Vantage Premier. PRUSelect is a regular premium ILP, with riders for critical illnesses, early critical illness, and premium waivers upon diagnosis of diseases.

Aviva

ILP Name: MyLifeInvest

Coming in first place for simplest, Aviva has only one ILP. Better yet, the name “MyLifeInvest” is more or less suggests investment from the get-go. Since it is the only ILP from Aviva (for now), the plan is comprehensive and contains most of the features that ILPs from other companies have. For example, rider options for critical illness protection and premium waivers. The naming of this plan gets two thumbs up from us.

NTUC Income

ILP Names: VivoLink, VivaLink

NTUC Income is like the friendly neighbourhood uncle – no-frills, reliable, and simple. Similarly, their offering of their ILPs reflect that. With only two plans, their names are relatively simple and unmistakably ILPs. There’s the word “link” for both plans, which hopefully clues consumers in when they encounter it. Vivolink vs Vivalink – what’s the difference? The two are quite similar, except some features.

For example, Vivolink has a retrenchment benefit for those who are unable to pay, allowing them to not pay premiums for a while without affecting the coverage. On the other hand, Vivalink allows top-up and withdrawal for the plan.

Tokio Marine

ILP Names: TM Wealth Aspire, TM Wealth Enhancer, TM FlexiAssurance, TM FlexiCover

Tokio Marine’s naming convention is relatively friendly, with two out of the four plans in the list of ILP containing the word “link”. Fun fact: for those with sharp eyes, we actually omitted a product description from the Tokio Marine site called the TMLS Asia Pacific Income Fund. It’s a sub-fund that feeds into the main fund – JPM Asia Pacific Income A (Mth) – SGD.

Conclusion

We hope this reviews of ILP names shed some light on the sometimes confusing naming of ILP policies.

If you ever find yourself needing an awesome financial adviser who can help you navigate this maze of financial products, why not head on over to fundMyLife and get connected to our curated pool of individual advisers.

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