Frequently Asked Questions for Lifechain

What’s happening?
Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), NTUC Income (Income) and LumenLab, MetLife’s Asia innovation centre are embarking on an industry-first pilot to simplify the life insurance claims process for bereaved families using a new blockchain-enabled technology called LifeChain.
What is Lifechain?
Lifechain is a first of its kind technology solution, developed by LumenLab that leverages blockchain to facilitate the life insurance claim process for the family of an insured who has passed away.
The pilot will target family members of the deceased who place obituaries in The Straits Times and comprise 1,000 randomly selected Income life insurance insured.
How does Lifechain work?
Lifechain enables SPH to securely encrypt and share verification data used for obituary placement with Income. This will trigger a search for a matching life insurance policy, allowing Income to initiate the claims process should a match be found.
What is the user/ customer journey?
  • SPH invites the family member placing obituaries in The Straits Times to participate in the pilot;
  • The consenting family member provides SPH with the deceased’s death certificate;
  • SPH encrypts the National Registration Identity Card (NRIC) number of the deceased and submits it into Lifechain. Hashing of NRIC number will take place in the blockchain. The information solicited here is the same as that required for placing an obituary in The Straits Times.
  • Lifechain, leveraging blockchain technology, automatically checks if there is a match between the encrypted information submitted by SPH and existing life insurance policy the deceased may have with Income.
  • SPH will be able to notify the family member within a working day if a match is found, indicating that the deceased has an in-force life insurance policy with Income.
  • If a match is found, Income will kick-start the claims process by contacting the policy-nominated beneficiaries by post. In the event that there is no nominated beneficiary, Income will send a letter to the deceased’s estate address specified in the policy documents. The insurance proceeds will be distributed to the proper claimants, according to the deceased’s will or the intestate law, on a case-by-case basis.
  • When no match is found, the family member can choose to alert Income about the deceased to effect the life insurance claim as a no-match simply means that the deceased does not fall in the sample size of the pilot. It does not necessarily mean that the deceased is not an insured of Income.
Who can benefit from Lifechain?
Lifechain was designed with the customer in mind. We all know the passing of a loved one is an extremely difficult process and saw an opportunity to leverage blockchain technology to make the experience easier for bereaved family members by facilitating the life insurance claim process. Lifechain is set to increase efficiency in claims processing, as it enables the insurer to automatically trigger the process by notifying the next-of-kin or assigned nominees named in the deceased’s life insurance policy for follow-up actions on claims processing.
Who is eligible for this service?
The pilot will target family members placing obituaries with The Straits Times.
Based on a random selection, 1,000 Income life insurance policyholders will be chosen to form the sample pool of participants in the pilot phase of Lifechain. Additionally, these policyholders must fulfil these two criteria:
  • Have at least one life insurance policy with NTUC Income
  • Have a local residential address registered with NTUC Income
Why is it limited to 1,000 policyholders?
The sample size for Lifechain was capped at 1,000 Income life insurance policyholders on the following basis:
  • As a pilot project, a sizeable number of participants is required for Income, SPH, and LumenLab to obtain a representative and reliable gauge of market demand and feasibility of Lifechain.
  • An adaptive sample size of 1,000 participants facilitates the quick iterative process at the pilot phase.
How would people know if they can access this service?
The pilot phase of Lifechain will run from 10 June to 25 October 2019.
During this period, family members of the deceased placing an obituary with The Straits Times will be informed of Lifechain. They are provided with the option to participate in the pilot by submitting the deceased’s NRIC details into Lifechain, from which SPH will securely share encrypted verification data with Income to see if there is a matching policy.
I’ve submitted the deceased’s details into Lifechain. What happens next?
Upon submission of the deceased’s information into Lifechain, SPH will notify the family member of the deceased on whether a match is found between the encrypted verification data submitted in Lifechain with those belonging to the selected insured involved in the pilot.
In the event that a match is found:
  • SPH will inform the family member via SMS and email that the deceased has a life insurance policy with Income.
  • Income will be automatically notified via Lifechain and will reach out to the nominated beneficiaries or estate address, whichever is applicable, for follow-up actions on claims processing.
In the event that a match is not found:
  • SPH will inform the family member, via SMS or email, that the deceased is not part of the sample pool of insured selected for the pilot phase of Lifechain.
  • This does not mean that the deceased does not hold an Income life policy. The next-of-kin is strongly encouraged to follow up with Income to find out the insurance policies the deceased had.
What role does blockchain play in this?
The blockchain smart contract matches the deceased NRIC collected by SPH with the pool of participating policy holder NRICS provided by NTUC Income. This process is conducted in a hashed state for heightened security. If there’s a positive match, both parties will receive an alert. The key benefit of blockchain is that it allows all parties who have access to the ledger to share information in a way that was previously not possible. This is because all information is in its hashed state and masks the identity. Should this pilot be successful, the platform can be made available to even more insurers without compromising on security.
What happens if the deceased is not part of the selected group of policyholders?
Lifechain will not be able to retrieve a match for the encrypted information submitted by SPH to Lifechain.
In the event that a match is not found:
  • SPH will inform the family member, via SMS or email, that the deceased is not part of the sample pool of insured selected for the pilot phase of Lifechain.
  • This does not mean that the deceased does not hold an Income life policy. The next-of-kin is strongly encouraged to follow up with Income to find out the insurance policies the deceased had.
How long will the pilot run for?
The pilot will run from 10 June to 25 October 2019.
Why is the service offered for such a short period of time?
This is a suitable duration to assess the pilot, allowing us to pivot from the current offering based on market feedback on Lifechain. Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), NTUC Income (Income) and LumenLab will be evaluating the results from the pilot to assess and determine the next steps for Lifechain after the pilot.
What would be considered a success for the pilot? What are your plans for rolling this out more broadly?
There are two key success metrics for the pilot phase of Lifechain:
  • Accuracy in matching the encrypted information of the deceased submitted by SPH to Lifechain and thus, triggering the claims process successfully;
  • The timeliness taken for submission of encrypted information by SPH and notification to Income of a matched policyholder’s profile via Lifechain
How do SPH, Income and LumenLab ensure that customer data is protected/kept private?
Blockchain is widely considered to be one of the best ways to secure transactions because it is difficult to tamper with since customer data is encrypted before it enters the blockchain. This means that only SPH and Income will have the ability to decrypt the information provided to them by their advertisers and policyholders respectively. The information is held in the strictest confidence and is not shared with any third party – including LumenLab.
Will there be any costs for this service?
Lifechain is offered free of charge during the pilot phase.

Questions from Income policyholders

How do I know if I am part of the pilot launch?
The sample size of 1,000 Income life insurance insured is randomly selected.
How can I opt out for the service?
For Income life policy insured:
  • Lifechain provides family members with the possibility to kick-start the life insurance claims process at the point when they make a placement for an obituary at The Straits Times. Leveraging secured blockchain technology, it adds value by facilitating the claims process for bereaved families at a trying time and does not deviate from how life claims are being executed. All in-force Income policyholders have given Income consent to collect, use and process personal data for claims-related purposes. Thus, there is no need for policyholders to opt out of the pilot phase of Lifechain.
For advertisers:
  • People placing obituaries with The Straits Times will be provided with the option to participate in Lifechain. They can choose to decline participation.
Why is NTUC Income sharing my data with a third party?
Neither SPH nor NTUC Income is sharing information belonging to the deceased with a third party. Lifechain makes use of blockchain technology to ensure the secure encryption of insureds’ information while ensuring a reliable and independent means of data verification.
Blockchain is widely considered to be one of the best ways to secure transactions because it is difficult to tamper with since customer data is encrypted before it enters the blockchain. This means that only SPH and Income will have the ability to decrypt the information provided to them by their advertisers and policyholders respectively. The information is held in the strictest confidence and is not shared with any third party – including LumenLab.