Money Moves

Dual benefits with new insurance plan

By Charles Mak

This is a fortnightly series of articles focusing on the banking and financial industries

Serious illness or injury can strike anyone out of the blue and make long-term medical care unexpectedly necessary. If this happens, it can often mean a period of ongoing financial concern for patients and for their families when, perhaps, they are least equipped to deal with it. For this reason, one leading insurance company is now offering a comprehensive plan aimed at giving people in Hong Kong genuine health protection and a chance to invest at the same time.

"Nowadays, insurance is a sophisticated business and an important part of the ever-growing spectrum of wealth management services," says Joseph Ho, general manager, distribution, MLC (Hong Kong) Limited. "Adequate medical insurance is a concern for many people so, with reference to the products available in Australia, we are introducing new concepts and designing what we see as the right services for Hong Kong."

The company has recently launched two "Just For You" critical illness plans, one including a refundable option, which are intended to be stand-alone policies or to act as supplementary benefits linked to an existing MLC life policy.

"If covered by the plan, customers can take a life policy up to the original benefit amount at a normal premium rate," explains Mr Ho. "This can be done one year after the full critical illness benefit is paid. The refundable plan also offers a 10-year coverage at a level premium rate."

A refund of up to 80 percent of premiums paid can be made upon surrender or maturity, after an in-force period of six years or more. Upon maturity, the plan can also be converted into a permanent life policy without the need for evidence of good health or an extra medical checkup.

Since people are now more concerned about health matters and the need to be prepared for possible emergencies, the market for health and medical insurance is potentially huge. "We feel we won't particularly need to push the sales of this insurance plan and are confident customers will immediately see the benefits," says Mr Ho. "We view it as a product which will build trust and confidence in the insurance industry by providing coverage and a method of investment that people really appreciate."

Taken from Career Times 12 November 2004, p. 2
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