Majority of Singapore Residents concerned about losing job due to illness, disability

Photo by Karolina Grabowska

While two-thirds (66 per cent) of Singapore’s local workforce are worried about job loss due to illness or disabilities, more than half (53 per cent) do not have any disability income protection, according to findings from the AIA Disability Income Survey 2022.

The survey, conducted in April 2022 amongst more than 1,000 respondents consisting of full-time working Singapore Residents aged 18 and above, also revealed that:

Our workforce understands and recognises the value of disability income protection

Aside from cutting down on spending (66%), the local workforce would look to survive the financial implications of a job loss due to an illness or injury by relying on savings (63%), finding another job where other tasks or duties can be done (58%), or claiming from insurance (50%).

More than 4 in 5 (84%) know that disability income protection exists though blue collar workers (42%) deem it to be very important to have such coverage compared to white collar workers (29%). The top 2 reasons for getting disability income (DI) protection are to have peace of mind should anything happen (53%), and to ensure that there is financial support for loved ones if unable to work (51%).

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More than half of the respondents aged 18 and above purchase DI coverage for peace of mind. From this group, those aged 45- 54 (52%) value DI coverage most for its ability to provide financial support for self and loved ones if unable to work.

Simplicity and certainty of payouts are top priorities when choosing a disability income policy

9 in 10 highlight the importance of having mental health conditions covered in disability income policies. The most valued features of a disability income policy identified are monthly payouts if unable to specifically perform own occupation due to illness, mental conditions, or injuries (91%), fixed monthly disability income regardless of whether there are any sources of income during disability(90%) and fixed monthly disability income regardless of any future changes in income prior to disability e.g. pursuing a role which may pay less (90%).

Key barriers to purchasing disability income policies include product complexity, complicated processes and high premiums.

1 in 4 (25%) of females cite the cost of premiums as a reason for not having DI protection compared to less than 1 in 5 (16%) of males. This was the most selected reason amongst females.

However, 22% of men said they did not have DI protection because they don’t think they need it – the most selected reason amongst males. Only 13% of women chose this reason.

In 2021, a Ministry of Manpower (MOM) report noted that workplace injuries have risen to pre-covid levels, with construction, transportation and storage sectors accounting for the highest number of fatalities. The gap in disability income protection is a cause for concern, especially among blue-collared workers who are at a higher risk of disability due to the nature of their work.