9 July 2021
Rising social needs cuts across several groups. These include the youth-in-need, elders, special needs, the low-income. These groups tend to be underserved by the traditional insurance industry. But it is changing.
Insurance for the disabled
In Singapore, we have the CareShield Life that provides long-term care insurance for disability, regardless of pre-existing medical conditions and disability. This coverage is provided for Singaporeans from age 30 onwards (mandatory for those born after 1980, and optional for those before 1980.)
Microinsurance for the budget conscious and "youth"-in-need
Just last week, I received a mailer regarding an insurance SNACK+ that gives companies like social enterprises the full flexibility to decide the insurance coverage of our employees at an affordable cost. Just like how you can snack to fill your hunger needs, without spending too much, it is an interesting insurance concept which anyone can build their own insurance coverage a little at a time. This microinsurance also caters to individuals who may need the insurance coverage but do not have the financial means for the typical insurances. Find out more about SNACKbyIncome here. One needs to be at least 18 years old to sign up for SNACK, there is still a group of youths (15-17 years old) that are underserved.
Insurance for the older generation
NTUC Income is also active in promoting their Silvercare Insurance. I particularly liked the subheadline "Protect your parents as they stay active in their silver years". A closer looked at their policy, I noticed that the insurance, structured as a "personal accident insurance" covers quite a few key expenses that are very probable for the ageing population.
- Final expenses - for funeral
- Permanent disability (more likely than Total disability) ($40K-60K per year)
- Outpatient expenses
- Extra medical expenses for burns, broken bones and fractures
- Mobility aids
- Rehabilitation and physiotherapy
- Senior day-care, home-care or nursing home service ($1K-$3K per year, which is not a lot)
- Home modification
- Home cleaning services
- Caregiver training
What draws my attention is that it is not that costly. It is about $160-$311 per year for ages 50-75, and renewable after 76 years old. As our parents grow older, they become more susceptible to accidents and the road to recovery may take longer than expected. Such plans are useful to offset some of the caregiving burdens of the working class who may need to engage external services and help for the caregiving duties while continuing to work.
This is not the first time NTUC Income has responded to arising social needs. Kudos to Mr Ken Ng who was then the chief actuary and chief risk officer. His move has reshaped the organization and perhaps led the insurance industry to meet the emerging challenges and needs.
Insurance for the caregivers of special needs children
Another effort worth mentioning is the tie-up between Great Eastern and CaregiverAsia to provide a long-term (15 years) therapy and professional care services for children with special needs through an insurance pay-out via the Extraordinary Care Program (EOCP). One of the greatest concern of caregivers of special needs is the continuation of care of their children when something happens to them. This includes therapy, medical escorting, childminding. An outright insurance payout does not cater to the welfare of these special needs. While this insurance is for the abled caregivers, and not for people who are already with special needs, it does provide some peace of mind.
We hope that more will be provided for the growing and underserved social needs. Microinsurances may be the way forward. The involvement of private sector to provide social protection schemes will, in the long run, help to lower the social costs and empower the underserved the ability to personalised their care.