Today LIC is launching a new plan called “Wealth Plus”, an unit linked insurance plan (ULIP) having a term of 8 years. As usual, here is my review on this plan with inputs from a development officer working with LIC based in Bangalore. On this blog you can also read about other ULIP products available in the market by various insurance companies. This plan comes with an option of choosing from either of a single premium or 3 years payment term. LIC Wealth Plus plan will be available for three months from 9th February 2010 and the plan closes for sale after those initial three months. There after the funds collected will be invested in equity market, implying that the risk is only medium.
Let us take a look at the salient features of this plan:
- Gauranteed return of highest NAV of the first 7 years or the 8th year NAV, whichever is higher.
- 8 years of Policy term
- Either 3 years premium payment term or single premium as per client’s choice.
- Minimum single premium of Rs 40,000 and Minimum Yearly premium of Rs 20,000.
- Risk cover of 5 times of the annualized premium or 1.25 times of single premium.
- In case of death during policy term, the plan returns basic sum assured plus fund value
- Extended risk cover for 2 years even after term end.
- Partial withdrawal allowed at any time after 3 years.
- Accident Benefit Raider (EDAB) allowed at a nominal charge of Rs 0.50 per 1000
People in the age group of 10 to 65 years can avail this plan by paying a minimum premium as mentioned above. Maximum premium has no restrictions.
Policy holder’s risk is covered for a minimum of 1.25 times of the premium paid through single premium mode. The maximum risk cover under single premium for age less than 40 years is 5 times the premium, while the same is 2.5 times if age is below 50 and 1.25 times for ages above 50. Under the regular premium mode the minimum risk cover is 5 times and the maximum cover is 10 times the annual premium for ages below 50 years.
This plan guarantees to pay the policy holder the higher of the highest NAV reached in the first 7 years of its term or the 8 th year NAV. But this guarantee of highest NAV can only be availed if the policy holder completes the term of the policy and of course, a charge is levied for this guarantee at the rate of 0.35% of the fund value.
The plan comes with an extended life cover for a period of 2 years after end of the term. You can surrender the plan even within three years, but the amount will be only paid after three years from date of the policy as per IRDA restrictions and there are no surrender charges.
As a maturity benefit policy holders are offered the highest NAV for units in the fund, provided the completion of a term of 8 years under the plan. Death benefit equals the sum assured plus the fund value during the term of the policy. For death during the first two years of the plan, and also after the term of the policy during the extended risk cover period the sum assured is only paid as the benefit.
Instead of charging higher premium for risk cover based on age every year, This plan charges only a level premium based on age at entry. But in the case of revival of a lapsed policy, the age at date of revival is used to arrive at the risk cover premium. Revival can be done only within 2 years from date of lapse and Rs. 500 is charged for revival.
The plan does provide a feature of partial withdrawals wherein, withdrawals can be after three years from commencement of plan and the maximum withdrawal is restricted to twice in a year. Other condition to be satisfied to make a partial withdrawals is that there should be a minimum of one annual premium left in the fund, and the minimum amount to be withdrawn must not be less than Rs.2000.
Loan is not granted in this plan as one can avail the same via partial withdrawals. The plan also does not provide for payments of top up premiums.
* Allocation Charges:
Single Premium: 5% up to 4 lakhs and for above 4 lakh the charge is 4.5%.
Regular premium: 12% up to 2 lakhs on first year and thereafter 2.5% for remaining years of the policy term. For premium below 4 lakhs the charge is 11.75%, and 11.5% for less than 7 lakhs and above 7 lakhs, the charge would be 11.25%.
* Guarantee charges at the rate of 0.35% of the fund value.
* Fund management charges at the rate of 1% of the fund value.
* Policy administration charge at the rate of Rs 60 monthly for the first year. Rs. 25 for the second year, Thereafter escalates on Rs 25 at the inflating rate of 3% every year.
* An accident rider benefit is offered with this plan, by paying Rs.0.50 per thousand risk cover. But the accident raider can only be availed by individual’s within the age of 10 yrs to 62 yrs.
My Take on this policy:
There is nothing new offered by LIC through this wealth plus plan except an extended insurance cover for 2 years after the policy term. Though the charges look moderate when compared to similar plans in the market like SBI Life Smart ULIP or Bajaj Allianz Shield Plus, I am basically not in favor of combining insurance with investment. For reaping best benefits always separate out insurance and investment. To get a better idea of what that means, please do read through some of the articles on this blog related to investment. Having said that I request readers to compare and contrast similar ULIP plans wrt various features provided before deciding on buying a policy.