Now various mutual fund houses have introduced Funds with insurance cover. And the product seems to a good match to ULIP. If product such as RELIANCE SIP, Century SIP from Birla MF catch on, the insurance agent might well be history.
Ganpat Bhai is an insurance agent. Be it the wedding of his friend’s daughter or a relative’s friend never misses a chance to sell a unitlinked insurance plan (Ulip) or two. Ganpat Bhai has sold them for years, playing on the twin emotions of fear and greed commonly found in human beings. For those who feared the future, he sold Ulip as insurance. And, for thhose who wanted their money to multiply, he sold them as investments.
Never mind the fear of mis-selling, client profiling which required, he managed to sell same product to all.
Mutual Funds often lost out because Ulip had this liquid-like property, where they took the shape of whatever vessel they were poured into. MF’s were rigid-they were purely investment products and did not provide for worldly happenings such as death.
Then, fund houses suddenly woke up. Take a leaf out of the insurance companies’ book, they started offering plans that offered insurance, too. DejaVu, the life of insurance agents turned into nightmares all of a sudden. The sky high commissions, mis-selling that they were used to all seemed to disappear in thin air.
Reliance SIP and Birla Sun Life Mutual Fund’s Century SIP is the latest in that line. Birla’s SIP is a systematic investment plan (SIP) that is optional. The plan should not be confused with a mutual fund scheme. While a scheme has a specific investment objective, an SIP is just a mode of investment that can be applies to any of the various schemes offered by a fund house. At present, Century SIP will be available on all 18 open-ended equity scheme offered by the fund house.
To participate in this plan, an investor needs to invest a minimum of Rs.1,000 every month. There is no upper limit for this investment. Under this plan, an MF investor will get insurance cover on his life 45 days after paying the first instalment. While some fund house charge a fee for this cover, Birla MF is offering it free of charge. In the first 45 days, only accidental deaths will be compensated.
The cover will be available to the investor till he or she turns 55. So the tenure of the cover under Century SIP will be 55 years minus the current age of the investor.
For an investor aged 40 years and five months, the tenure of the Century SIP insurance cover will be 14 years and seven months. Let’s say an investor starts an SIP of Rs 5,000 per month. If he dies within the first year of paying his instalments, his nominee is eligible for a cover of 19 times the SIP amount- Rs 50,000. If he dies during the second year of SIP payments, the nominee get 50 times the SIP amount as the life cover – Rs2.5 lakh. And if he dies any time in the third year or after that, the nominee gets 100 times the monthly SIP amount Rs5 lakh. Here again, thecover is subject to a maximum of Rs20 lakh.
The cover cannot be claimed if the SIP is discontinued before the completion of three years or if the investor defaults on payments of instalments on two consecutive occasions.
Investor who can afford to set aside at least Rs. 1,000 every month for equity investments can take this offer, depending, of course, on the underlying scheme’s compatibility with your investment goal. Thus, if none of the Birla schemes fits your needs, you should not take one just because it offers free insurance. But if one does, the Century SIP is a good reason to make that switch.
Ganpat Bhai still believes only insurance companies can offer good insurance. But, sooner or later, as the trend catches on, be sure even he will come around to seeing sense.