Health + Wellness

Tokio Marine Life Insurance Singapore launches TM Protect 1

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TM Protect 1 is the first disability income plan in Singapore to offer essential support during the critical early stages of disability. The plan provides a monthly benefit payment, activated upon the loss of a single Activity of Daily Living (ADL). According to Tokio Marine Life Insurance Singapore (TMLS), this plan introduces a coverage option for disability income plans that was previously unavailable in Singapore. Prior to the launch of TM Protect 1, current disability income plans offer pay-outs upon the loss of at least 2 ADLs. TM Protect 1 recognises that the loss of a single ADL can result in a significant impact on an individual’s income.

TM Protect 1

The plan aims to support policyholders from a financial hit by covering costs related to aspects such as rehabilitation, transport and mobility aids and serves as a supplement to a customer’s existing insurance policies. More information can be found at

We speak with Bevan Cheong, Head of Accident and Health Business at Tokio Marine Life Insurance Singapore Ltd. (TMLS) about the new TM Protect 1 plan. 

1. How did the insurance industry initially work on a 2 ADL-payout system?
2. What’s the rationale to increase coverage starting from 1 ADL?
3. What are some of the challenges or disability or loss of ADLs that TMLS has observed with their customers?

In 2002, the Singapore government responded to the need for a standard severe disability insurance scheme by introducing Eldershield. Eldershield traditionally gives monthly cash payouts upon the inability to perform at least three ADLs independently, and helps to protect Singaporeans’ income from the age of 40. It was with Eldershield that the current payout system, based on the individual’s ability to perform Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), was implemented.

ADLs – washing, dressing, feeding, toileting, moving around and transferring – can vary greatly among individuals, as it is only an approximate measure of disability. This means that a person’s life and finances can still be greatly set back even if they suffer from the inability to perform one or two ADLs. For instance, someone who finds it difficult to feed themselves will need additional support, such as tube-feeding or a caregiver. This could be the case for people with arthritis, muscular dystrophy illnesses, Alzheimer’s or dementia, conditions that could cause difficulties in carrying out ADLs.

As Eldershield covers those who are unable to perform at least three ADLs, the insurance industry saw an opportunity to support those who are unable to meet Eldershield’s criteria. Based on the Eldershield Experience study conducted from 2002 to 2007, 593 claims were submitted for the inability to perform less than three ADLs . This shows that there is a demand for coverage, prompting the industry to respond in 2007 by introducing plans for those who are unable to perform at least two ADLs.

Fast forward to 2017, Singaporeans now have one of the highest life expectancy in the world at 82.8 years . This means more opportunities – as well as more risks. While we have more time to explore our passions, we continue to face longevity risks such as disability. A recent report highlighted that the prevalence of disability in Singapore rises exponentially from 2.1% among those below 18 to 13.3% for people above the age of 50 . Combine this with the fact that Singapore is a rapidly ageing society, we believe there is a gap TMLS can fill when it comes to disability.

TM Protect 1 aims to minimise these coverage gaps and give Singaporeans more options to choose from. With TM Protect 1, we hope to encourage Singaporeans to plan for their futures by protecting themselves and their loved ones against longevity risks. With the necessary coverage, Singaporeans can focus their efforts on achieving their aspirations, regardless of age.

4. How do these customers typically deal with their loss of ADLs and how can increased coverage help cover costs and manage challenges?

As disabilities vary greatly among individuals, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to dealing with the inability to perform ADLs.
The social services sector in Singapore plays a crucial role in catering to the needs of people regardless of the severity or type of disability. Government and welfare organisations aim to help individuals with disabilities integrate into society through rehabilitation programmes, and can provide emotional and financial support.

Just as Eldershield is unable to provide payouts for people who are unable to perform less than three ADLs, organisations in the social services sector have their own criteria for the people they assist. While this is understandable given that resources are limited, it implies that some people would not be able to receive the support they need.

Increased coverage can make a significant difference to the lives of those who have been previously unable to receive help. It enables TMLS to reach out to those who might be left out of other assistance schemes and provides support through benefits related to caregivers, rehabilitation and mobility aids.



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