Insurers close protection gap amid rising mental health issues

As Singapore sees a large protection gap, insurers attempt to close the gap through emphasizing mental health and sustainable inclusivity.

The increase in mental illness and impacted physical health has prompted insurers to shift their offerings to more inclusive protection products, while attempting to close the protection gap.

Daisy Ning, Swiss Re’s Head of Life and Health in Asia Pacific, said that while the life and health premium in Singapore has grown by seven percent, the market still faces challenges amid the 74 percent critical illness protection gap, coupled with a 21 percent mortality gap.

“The market itself also faces opportunities and challenges in the high interest rate environment, and also coupled with high inflation,” she said, “Economic slowdown has certainly put a strain on the economy and consumers, and also during COVID time. And it's not only in Singapore, but in the rest of the world as well.”

The pandemic, while a global health crisis, has served as a catalyst for increased awareness around protection coverage, particularly for mental health.

“Because of that, insurers have come together to provide more protection products to try to close the protection gap. And certainly, recently in Singapore, we see a rise in demands on the index, Universal Life product, and the long term care products as well,” she said.

Addressing the broader issue of inclusivity, Ning outlines Swiss Re's sustainability ethos, which focuses on the 'three A's': accessibility, affordability, and availability. 

"We also look at how we can offer insurance to segments of the society who didn't have access to insurance before. And this is our key aim to make the products more available and affordable, and also more accessible,” she explained.

Swiss Re's strategy to enhance inclusivity involves a multifaceted approach. "We definitely work with a lot of insurance companies, and we also work with the regulators across the world to look at the topic of sustainability," Ning added.

She cited that collaboration with third-party health and wellness companies is also a crucial aspect of Swiss Re's efforts to offer more holistic product options.

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