Dreaded 'C' no longer a death sentence, resulting costs shouldn't be one

| 22 May 2018

What are the five-year cancer survival rates for males and females in Singapore? The National Registry of Diseases Office reported in 2015 that the five-year cancer survival rate for males has more than tripled from 13.2% in the period of 1973-1997 to 48.5% in 2008-2012. For the same period, the female survival rate has more than doubled from 28% to 57.1%.

This is according to AXA which also noted that critical illnesses (CIs) like cardiovascular diseases and the various cancers make up 61% of deaths in Singapore according to the World Health Organisation. 

While incidence of CI has been rising, survival rates are also higher due to advances in medical technology.

This makes it even more imperative that Singaporeans have CI insurance that offers protection against disruption to their lifestyle in the event of a CI, particularly in the context of increasing financial obligations and medical inflation.

Below are some key findings from AXA Better Beyond Survey which was conducted to gauge Singaporeans’ preparedness and level of protection in the face of rising CI incidence rates and healthcare costs.  

Almost 50% of Singaporeans are not insured against CI

While it is shocking that 48% are not insured against CI. What’s even more mind-boggling to me is that this is even though close to 9 in 10 foresee a higher than 50% chance of contracting a CI before turning 65 years old.


If one doesn’t see the value, it’ll always be too costly

This description "If one doesn't see the value, it'll always be too costly" comes to mind when I read the below on the reasons given for not purchasing CI insurance.

44% of Singaporeans aged 20-34 said they do intend to take up CI insurance but only at a later stage in life. However when comparing the two age groups of 20-34 and 35-44, the survey found that take up rates remained similar (52% and 56%, respectively).

The “high financial cost” of CI insurance was a barrier in buying CI protections. 45% of those aged 35-44 cited the extra financial burden as the main deterrent, up from 33% of Singaporeans aged 20-34.

Singaporeans see the need

Despite the low take up rate on CI protection, many Singaporeans do admit to being concerned about the implications of contracting a CI.

The top three concerns are: 76% surveyed are worried about being a financial burden to their family and friends, with the same percentage of those surveyed being worried about being unable to work, resulting in loss of income. 72% fear being unable to pay for CI treatment and medical expenses.

These are justifiable concerns as six out of 10 Singaporeans do not think their savings will last more than a year upon contracting a CI.

Why is there such a misalignment between thoughts and actions?

Studies and surveys such as this aren’t new. Just two of such recently-released findings can be found in Singapore's protection gap stands at US$672 bln and More than half in Asia regret not saving earlier for retirement.

In general, consumers out there see the need for insurance. But seeing the need and feeling the fear do not necessarily mean that they will take actions. 

As mentioned earlier, if one doesn’t see the value, it’ll always be too costly. It's always "too costly" there are always "other prioritites". If insurance agents get a dollar for every time you hear “too expensive”, “not now”, “later”, “it won’t happen to me” and the likes, you’d be a millionaire many times over.

So what gives? Very often, what’s needed is the dedication of a professional life insurance agent.

And insurance leaders understand that, even in this era of InsurTech. Read No robot is going to take your place - AIA Group Chief Marketing Officer and Digital insight with human touch is the way forward - Muang Thai Life CEO for just some of the recent interviews we did.

No matter which country you are in, whether the insurance market is developing or developed, the general consumer behaviour is likely to be similar. What’s needed is a professional adviser like you who follows up, advises, coaches, plans and persuades a prospect to take actions in their best interests.

So get out there and continue to secure the financial security of families.

Visuals from AXA Better Beyond Survey report. The survey polled 503 Singaporean working adults aged 20-44 years old via an online survey from February to March 2018.

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