Thought of the Day: Courage
For some strange reason, my mental word of the day is courage.
Without looking up the ole’ Oxford, the best definition I can give about courage is:
Being brave. Even when it is scary. Especially when it is scary.
We are sorely challenged to equate courage with the insurance industry. It is not known for doing (dramatically) new things. Challenging new frontiers. If the last 25 years is anything to go by, perhaps Insurers are known more for defending the status quo. Sticking to the tried and tested. Not making bold leaps when it comes to products.
Hardly the embodiment of courage.
It came as a pleasant surprise when AIA Singapore approached us to do a product review on their newest innovation, called AIA Pro Lifetime Protector.
In their own words:
It provides an all-rounded solution that no other can – early protection against pregnancy complications, birth defects, as well as developmental and learning disorders – to finally satisfy the unmet needs of young families in Singapore.
Now that is a bold statement to be making.
An insurer, taking risks with coming up with a ground-breaking product?
Pouring money into research and running the actuarial numbers?
And finally, inviting a cranky and eccentric site to review it?
That takes a certain measure of courage (I actually prefer the more colloquial and snappy term, balls) – but we are more than happy to oblige. This is one rabbit hole we will gladly jump in, for a whole month of Sundays.
So, developing a whole new innovation, with market-firsts that have never seen before eh?
Just how does an insurer go about doing that?
It starts with doing your homework
That homework is called the AIA Parenthood and Protection Study. Conducted in 2017, over 600 married Singaporeans were surveyed to understand their top priorities and concerns.
So what exactly did they find?
Here is our own narrative:
Singaporeans are having children later in life. That delay is due to cost concerns and also wanting to develop their careers first.
But delays in childbirth also lead to more pregnancy complications – and more Singaporeans are turning to IVF for conception, which leads to its own set of extra risks.
And finally, there is more emphasis on the recognition and diagnosis of development/learning disorders in children – thus increasing the financial burden of parents.
Act on your convictions
Findings are just that – findings. Unless acted upon, they do not serve much of a purpose.
So AIA Singapore launched AIA Pro Lifetime Protector, an all-in-one investment-linked plan (ILP), alongside three distinctive riders, with market-first features specially introduced to satisfy the unmet needs of young families in Singapore. (as aforementioned in the study)
It is the three distinctive riders that caught our attention, and we explore them here.
Rider 1: AIA Child Critical Cover
What does it do?
Covers all three Developmental conditions: Autism, Dyslexia, and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
This rider provides coverage for a child’s treatment across 25 child medical conditions until the age of 21. It can also be converted into a lifelong plan, providing the child guaranteed coverage through adulthood.
Why does it shine?
These are real problems highlighted in the study.
An estimated 4% of children here are also believed to be dyslexic, with more than 3,000 diagnosed in 2016 alone. One in 150 children in Singapore has autism, a higher rate than the global average of 160.
Most importantly, treatments for ADHD and dyslexia are not covered by any other life insurers in Singapore right now.
(True story: I asked my mum if she was ever worried about me having ADHD or a learning disorder. She replied that there was nothing a firm hand and a sturdy slipper couldn’t cure. Glad that times are finally a-changin’)
Edit: Credit to reader Edwina, who pointed out to us that overcoming ADHD is not about punishment. It requires much occupational therapy and also effort from all parties to overcome it. We are grateful for the information, and hope it helps to change the way we view this developmental delay.
Rider 2: AIA Baby Protector
What does it do?
It protects both mother and baby.
For the mother:
- protects against 10 pregnancy complications and death
- provides daily hospital care benefit due to pregnancy complications
For the baby:
- covers against 23 congenital illnesses
- provides daily hospital care benefit for incubation
Why does it shine?
It covers babies that are conceived by IVF, ICI, IUI and ICSI. These alphabet soup of letters represent the various types of assisted conception treatments available today.
This is huge because of the increased risks of complications that come with later childbirth and also with assisted conception methods (I know it only as IVF)
AIA was the first to insure IVF pregnancies, and this rider extends that cover to other methods as well. It is the only insurer that does not impose birth weight restriction for premature babies admitted into the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit).
Most importantly: The premiums are all the same, regardless of type of pregnancy.
Rider 3: AIA Double Critical Cover
What does it do?
It provides early stage Critical Illness cover of up to $350,000, and provides multi-stage coverage of up to 200%. Claims can be made multiple times.
Why does it shine?
As far as we are aware, the maximum coverage given by other insurers for early stage CI is $250,000. This rider ups the ante to $350,000 – an increase of 40% in protection.
What would have made it better for me
Creating a new product with several new market-firsts is definitely not a walk in the park, but the insatiable Singaporean in me clamours for more.
Being a true blue supporter of pure protection, I would very much like to see those riders made available in their Term and Whole Life Plans as well. We would then have greater choice when it comes down to how we would like to be covered.
Since these are only early days of the product launch, I could be overly picky here. Bo pian, that trait comes along with my pink IC.
We probably didn’t do justice to the countless man hours that went into the creation of this innovation. There must have been tonnes of benefits that we glossed over – or skipped outright – due to brevity.
What truly stands out for me this is: If you are a parent-to-be, then for the first time ever, you have an opportunity to address many of your concerns.
About your baby facing congenital problems
About your baby having learning or development issues
About experiencing pregnancy complications
Were I a parent-to-be, the full list of features/benefits would not be on my mind.
I want to be able to handle every contingency that pregnancy may bring.
With this new innovation, now everyone has that power.
Our Verdict: Nicely Done!
We applaud AIA for daring to break new ground, and do what no other insurer has done here before.
It takes a special kind of courage, and commitment, to produce innovations – consistently. It started with AIA Vitality (the first wellness program that rewards policy holders for taking charge of their health), then AIA Diabetes Care (the first policy that covers pre-diabetics, we covered it here), and now the AIA Pro Lifetime Protector with all its ground breaking riders.
You’ve set the bar high, and we look to you in the future to rewrite the stars.
We would like to thank AIA Singapore for inviting us to review the product, and being big-hearted enough to hear our suggestions. We wish you greater success in 2018 – and even more innovations to come.
www.ClearlySurely.com aims to eradicate the knowledge gap between consumers and Life Insurance. Our Vision is that one day, every Man, Woman, and Child will be properly insured.