More Singapore firms now including mental health benefits in corporate insurance

The figure has risen steadily over the past few years post-pandemic

More Singapore firms now including mental health benefits in corporate insurance

Life & Health

By Kenneth Araullo

More companies in Singapore are including mental health benefits for their employee’s corporate insurance coverage, a recent report found.

The rise in these mental wellness benefits stem from a call during the pandemic to take mental health more seriously, and businesses are starting to realize that companies that prioritize their workers’ wellbeing are more attractive.

According to a report from The Straits Times, insurers in the country said that the uptake for mental health benefits was low before the pandemic but has increased over the past few years.

Insurer testimonials

AIA Singapore noted that only 1% of corporate clients included mental health coverage before 2020. This year, that figure rose to about 10%. The company also noted an increase for Income Insurance regarding requests by employers to include mental health benefits after COVID.

Mercer Singapore also said that it reached the 10% mark by 2021, a notable increase from the 6% in 2019. Great Eastern had the highest uptake of all the representatives in the report; the insurer went from 2.2% in 2019 to 16.8% as of April 2023 for companies opting to cover mental health consultations with general practitioners.

The report also found that multinational corporations make up a larger proportion of those including mental health benefits and have more comprehensive coverage. Small and medium-sized enterprises, on the other hand, are more cautious in structuring their benefits, preferring instead to start with basic inclusions like a 24/7 counselling hotline.

Great Eastern group insurance marketing head Grace Lee said that mental health benefits are cost-effective for companies in the long run.

“Better wellbeing support improves the physical wellness of people. You’ve reduced MC rates and increased productivity of employees. Because people are healthier, that has resulted in claims and medical costs (for the company) going down,” Lee said.

Elsewhere in Singapore, the government has stepped up its efforts to crack down on the oil and chemical tankers with substandard insurance policies amid the state’s concerns over environmental and safety impact coming from ageing vessels that enter major shipping lanes.

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