LIC Wealth Plus
Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) is India’s oldest and most trusted life insurance company. In fact even today, it has a majority market share of a whopping 77% of the total life insurance business in the country, with competition from 23 other life insurers. LIC has an enviable claim settlement ratio of 98.14%, the highest amongst all life insurance companies, making it the first choice of customers. This means that of all the claims the company receives, it honours 98 cases out of 100. LIC continues to dominate new premium collections. Being a public sector undertaking having government backing, the company is unlikely to fail unlike many of its private counterparts. LIC has a massive customer base of over 250 million people.
Unit Linked Insurance Plans (ULIPs) – Introduction/Overview
ULIPs are different from pure protection life insurance plans. ULIPs not only provide protection, but also provide savings. They offer a unique combination of protection with investments. A part of the policyholder’s premium goes towards providing a life cover and the remaining is invested in debt, equity, cash, deposits, bonds, fixed income instruments, money market instruments, government securities, liquid mutual funds and other forms of investment. Importantly, ULIPs offer flexibility in deciding the type of investment based on the policyholder’s risk profile. They are dynamic and flexible in nature, allowing changes and a high degree of customisation unlike most other financial plans. It is because of these reasons ULIPs have become a popular choice of investment today.
ULIPs can serve many important objectives:
- Retirement planning (in accumulating a sizeable retirement corpus)
- Long-term wealth creation
- Child’s education
- Child’s marriage
- Purchase of a house
Insurance companies offer different fund options to policyholders under unit linked life insurance plans. The premium paid by policyholders is pooled and invested in unit linked funds, each of which invests in a portfolio of assets to achieve different fund objectives. The insurance companies manage the funds, and price of each unit of the fund is dependent on the performance of the investments in the fund.
Objectives of the funds in terms of risk and returns can be:
- High risk and consequently high returns (substantial exposure to equities)
- Medium risk and balanced returns (balanced exposure to different asset classes including equity and debt)
- Low risk and stability (primarily exposure to government securities, fixed income instruments and bonds)
Unit linked life insurance plans or ULIPs offer a range of funds – from a single fund to as many as 7-8 funds in a single plan to cater to different categories of investors and their different life stages and risk appetites. ULIPs also allow switching from one fund to another in between the policy term to adjust to changing circumstances of policyholders. Most ULIPs also offer the investor the option to change the fund allocation on an automatic basis, depending on their age. You can read about the benefits of ULIPs later in the page.
LIC Wealth Plus – Introduction/Overview
LIC Wealth Plus was a unit linked insurance plan which offered to pay the fund value at the end of the policy term to safeguard one’s investments from market fluctuations. LIC Wealth Plus was available for a limited period only. The fund value paid at the end of the policy term is higher of the highest Net Asset Value (NAV) recorded over the first 7 years of LIC Wealth Plus or NAV at the end of the LIC Wealth Plus policy term. The entire premium is invested in money market instruments from the date of sale to the date of closure of the LIC Wealth Plus plan. Post the date of closure of the plan, the investment pattern will follow that of the Wealth Plus Fund.
LIC Wealth Plus – Key Features
- The policy term of LIC Wealth Plus plan is 8 years, with an extended life cover for 2 years after completion of the policy term
- The NAV of the fund is subject to a minimum of Rs. 10
- LIC Wealth Plus plan is available for sale for a limited period only
- The premium paid towards LIC Wealth Plus will be used to purchase units of the fund after factoring in the premium allocation charge
- The Wealth Plus Fund is subject to multiple charges
- The value of units of the fund will vary, i.e. increase or decrease, depending on the NAV
- LIC Wealth Plus guarantees the highest NAV recorded on a daily basis in the first 7 years of the policy, subject to a minimum of Rs. 10. The guarantee applies only to the payment made at the end of the LIC Wealth Plus policy term, regardless of partial withdrawals made during the LIC Wealth Plus policy tenure
- LIC Wealth Plus also offers the option of an Accident Benefit rider
LIC Wealth Plus – Benefits
- In case the life assured dies during the LIC Wealth Plus policy term, the nominee will receive death benefit which would include Sum Assured under the basic LIC Wealth Plus plan and policyholder’s fund value
- In case the life assured dies after the LIC Wealth Plus policy term, but before the expiry of the extended life cover period, the nominee will receive only the Sum Assured under the basic LIC Wealth Plus plan
- If the life assured survives the LIC Wealth Plus policy term, he or she will receive an amount equal to the policyholder’s fund value on the basis of the higher value between highest NAV registered over the first 7 years of the LIC Wealth Plus policy or the NAV applicable at the end of the LIC Wealth Plus policy term
- In case Accident Benefit rider has been opted for and the policyholder dies due to an accident, an additional sum equal to Accident Benefit sum assured will be paid under LIC Wealth Plus
- LIC Wealth Plus allows partial withdrawals under certain select circumstances after the third policy anniversary
LIC Wealth Plus – Product Specification:
|Entry Age (Last Birthday)||10 years||65 years|
|Policy Term||8 years (Extended Life Cover – 2 years after the completion of policy term)|
|Premium Amount||3 years Premium Paying policies: Rs. 20,000 p.a. (other than monthly ECS mode)
Monthly ECS mode: Rs. 2,000 p.m. (for monthly ECS mode, premium has to be in multiples of Rs. 500)
Single premium policies: Rs. 40,000 p.a. (annualised premiums has to be paid in multiples of Rs. 1,000.)
|Sum Assured||3 years Premium Paying Term: 5 times the annualised premium
Single Premium: 1.25 times the single premium
(minimum Sum Assured will be rounded off to the next multiple of Rs. 5,000)
|3 years Premium Paying Term:
• 10 times the annualised premium if age at entry is up to 50 years
• 5 times the annualised premium if age at entry is 51 years and above
• 5 times the Single premium if age at entry is less than 40 years
• 2.5 times the Single premium if age at entry is 41 - 50 years
• 1.25 times the Single premium if age at entry is 51 years and more
|Premium Paying Term||3 years on a regular basis or single premium|
|Premium Paying Frequency||Yearly, half-yearly, quarterly or monthly (only through ECS mode)|
Grace Period: LIC Wealth Plus policy lapses if the premium is not paid within the days of grace available under the LIC Wealth Plus policy. LIC Wealth Plus – Policy Details
- Cooling Off Period: If the policyholder is not satisfied with the terms and conditions of the LIC Wealth Plus policy, he or she can return the LIC Wealth Plus policy within 15 days. The refundable amount to be paid in case the LIC Wealth Plus policy is returned within the cooling-off period is calculated as under:
Value based on units in the policyholder’s fund
(+) Unallocated premium
(-) Policy Administration charge
(-) Charges @ Rs. 0.20 per every Rs. 1,000 of Sum Assured under the basic LIC Wealth Plus plan
(-) Cost of medical examination and special reports (if any) at actuals
- Loan: No loan is available under LIC Wealth Plus plans
- Assignment: Assignment is allowed under LIC Wealth Plus
- Reinstatement: An LIC Wealth Plus policy once surrendered cannot be reinstated
- Policy Surrender: LIC Wealth Plus plans can be surrendered only during the policy term (and not during the extended life cover period) and there is no surrender charge. The surrender value (if any) is payable only after the completion of the third LIC Wealth Plus policy anniversary under either type of premium paying term – single or 3 years (regular basis). The surrender value is equal to the policyholder’s fund value on the date of surrender.
- Exclusions: In case of suicide committed by the life assured within the first 12 months of LIC Wealth Plus policy from inception, LIC will not accommodate any claims under the LIC Wealth Plus policy. The company will only pay the policyholder’s fund value on death.
Unit Linked Insurance Plans (ULIPs) – Benefits
For those of you wondering how ULIPs can help you, read to find the many benefits of these insurance plans. ULIPs are ideal wealth creation instruments. Some of their noteworthy benefits are mentioned below:
Potential for Good Returns
ULIPs offer the prospect of promising returns by investment in equity, debt and other forms of investment. Depending on one’s investment appetite and risk taking capability, one may choose a fund with higher skew towards equities which offer higher returns, albeit with greater risk. Or one may choose a fund with greater representation of debt to reduce the volatility of returns. Young people can opt for equity-focussed funds in their 20s and 30s, and gradually move towards debt funds.
ULIPs are one of the most transparent financial products available in the market. Their charge structure, expected Internal Rate of Return (IRR), value of investment, etc. are shared before hand with prospective customers. The account statement, quarterly investment portfolio and daily Net Asset Value (NAV) ensure that policyholders are adequately aware of the status of their investment portfolios. Life insurance companies publish the latest NAVs on their websites on a daily basis.
Another great advantage of a ULIP is their liquid nature. ULIPs allow partial withdrawals to take care of emergencies and sudden requirements of funds. Most ULIPs allow the policyholder to withdraw funds after 5 years to a great extent, leaving only a minimum stipulated amount in the unit linked account.
Flexibility and Control of Investments
Another hallmark of ULIPs is the flexibility to control one’s investments. Based on one’s investment objectives, goals, life stage and risk-taking ability, one can choose from available funds under a unit linked life insurance plan. Each fund has a different objective and consequently invests in different degrees in equity, debt, bonds, cash, government securities etc. A range of high, medium and low risk investment options are available under a single unit linked plan.
If at any point in time, one feels that a fund is not meeting one’s requirements, one can switch the fund to another available fund which meets requirements better. This is called fund switching. ULIPs also allow premium redirection i.e. future allocation of premiums in chosen funds. If additional funds are available to a policyholder, he or she can by way of top-up, increase the existing investment in a ULIP.
Multiple Benefits in One Product
A single product, a unit linked life insurance plan, offers several benefits. Not only does it provide a life cover, it also provides various investment opportunities in addition to tax benefits.
Inculcate the Habit to Save Regularly
ULIPs are a great way to instil discipline and the habit to save regularly. It has been found that the average unit costs are likely to be lower than the cost of one time investment.
Good for Hands-Off Investors
ULIPs are a good choice of investment for investors who do not have sufficient time to actively monitor their investments. A unit linked life insurance plan allows one to take the advantage of market linked growth without actually participating in the stock market. If at any point, one feels that one wants greater returns, one can switch to a high-growth fund having higher investment in equity.
ULIPs are also an effective tax saving instrument. One can avail several tax benefits under the Income Tax Act 1961 by investing in ULIPs. Life insurance plans are eligible for deduction under Section 80C. Section 80D allows tax relief for life insurance plans as well as critical illness riders. Maturity proceeds and withdrawals are exempt under Section 10(10D) subject to norms prescribed in the section.
Ability to Enhance the Cover by Choosing a Rider
ULIPs also allow flexibility of customising the plan by choosing an option rider. Riders grant additional, supplementary benefits and enhance the cover of the main insurance policy. Examples of common riders are critical illness benefit rider, accident and disability benefit rider, premium waiver rider.
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