Saturday, 25 January 2014

New motor insurance policy targets drivers aged over 65

Seniors will pay stagnant premium rate from age 65 to 75, after which their policies will be reviewed
By Woo Sian Boon, TODAY, 24 Jan 2014

As the number of senior drivers aged over 65 increases amid a greying population, so have their motor insurance premiums.

As a result, the Automobile Association of Singapore (AA) has partnered Liberty Insurance to launch a new motor insurance policy aimed at senior drivers aged over 65.

The introduction of the AA Senior Motor Plus policy follows a rise in the number of complaints among senior drivers about having to pay higher motor insurance premiums after they turned 65.

Some were even denied coverage because of their age.

Speaking at the policy’s launch yesterday, AA President Bernard Tay said: “This oft-neglected group of drivers is often perceived by insurers as having slower reflexes, reduced concentration, impaired vision and motor functions, rendering them at a higher risk of accidents on the road.”

He pointed out that senior drivers, in fact, have many years of driving experience, are more stable and are less likely to speed or take unnecessary risks.

Liberty Insurance Chief Executive Officer Luiz Campos said research into the driving patterns of senior drivers showed that since many of them were retired, they usually drove during off-peak hours when the traffic was lighter.

Currently, senior drivers make up about 14 per cent of AA’s 83,000 members. Under AA’s new policy, those insured will pay a stagnant premium rate from age 65 to 75, after which their policies will be reviewed based on factors such as driving experience, claims record and type of car driven.

Drivers must have four or more years of driving experience and will be provided with S$50,000 in personal accident benefits. A 5 per cent discount will also be given to eligible policyholders with 30 or more years of driving experience and who have made no claims in the last three years.

Retiree Richard Yue, 67, welcomed the new policy. Mr Yue, who has 25 years of driving experience, is paying a motor insurance premium of S$870 a year, with an excess of S$600.

Five years ago, he was paying a yearly premium of S$750 with an excess of S$300.

The Consumers Association of Singapore Executive Director Seah Seng Choon said he supported AA’s move to provide lower insurance premiums for senior drivers and agreed there were no statistics to show they posed a higher risk on the road.

“I do not see why they should impose such a premium on seniors; it (has) become unreasonable. It’s just putting an unnecessary burden on seniors, most of whom are retirees,” he said.

NTUC Income does not impose any special terms of higher premiums on drivers above the age of 65, said its Vice-President for Motor Insurance Peh Chee Keong.

The company has more than 12,000 motor insurance customers over 65.

Said Mr Peh: “Every insurer has its own criteria in assessing the risks associated with insuring different groups of customers. This is largely based on the claims experience within those groups. NTUC Income’s claims experience reflects that senior motorists do not present additional risks.”

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