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LIA updates Critical Illnesses benefit framework

The Life Insurance Association Singapore on Friday announced the revised standard definition for the "severe" stage of 37 critical illnesses and allowing insurers to offer critical illnesses products covering beyond the 30 illnesses under the previous framework.

SINGAPORE: A revision to the definition for the "severe" stage of 37 common critical illnesses and flexibility for more medical conditions to be covered in insurance products are the two changes introduced to the Critical Illnesses (CI) benefit framework on Friday (Aug 1).

The Life Insurance Association (LIA) Singapore announced the changes to the CI benefit framework following a year-long review, and they are meant to encourage life insurers to innovate products and services to better meet the evolving needs of Singaporeans. 

CI insurance pays out a lump sum in the event that the insured is diagnosed to be suffering from one of the critical illnesses or has undergone a surgical procedure covered by the policy, LIA said.

The two main changes to the benefit framework are:

  • Revised standard definitions for "severe" stage of 37 common CIs

    The definitions have been updated to reflect advances in clinical practices, medical science and technology, which have impacted certain illnesses in their diagnosis and treatment. CI products using preceding definitions will no longer be sold from Feb 1, 2015. 

    The rationale for LIA's standardisation of CI definitions remains unchanged though, which is that standardisation provides greater transparency for customers to easily assess and compare the different plans available. As such, premiums are not expected to increase due to the revision of definitions, it said.

  • Flexibility for more medical conditions to be covered

    Current plans cover up to a maximum of 30 CIs but, following the consultation with the Competition Commission of Singapore, the new framework will allow for any number of medical conditions to be covered under a CI plan. Insurers can also offer single-illness CI plans.

    For consistency, all insurers in Singapore will adopt the standard definition for the "severe" stage of the 37 common CIs set by LIA. Definitions of additional illnesses will be set by individual insurers, LIA said.

The updated framework is effective immediately, and will be adopted by all member companies of the LIA Singapore and the General Insurance Association of Singapore, according to the statement.

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