Thursday, 23 June 2016

All national servicemen to get free basic insurance from 1 July 2016

MINDEF, MHA will pay for coverage during full-time national service, reservist duties
By Lester Hio, The Straits Times, 22 Jun 2016

Both full-time and operationally ready national servicemen will have free life and personal insurance coverage provided by the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) and Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

The scheme applies to servicemen in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), Singapore Police Force (SPF) and Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) and will take effect on July 1.

Premiums for the $150,000 group term life and $150,000 group personal accident insurance coverage from Aviva will be paid for by MINDEF and the MHA during the servicemen's full-time national service or reservist duties.

The insurance will also cover pre-existing medical conditions.

The scheme was one of the recommendations by the Committee to Strengthen National Service to better recognise the contributions of national servicemen.

"The provision of this group term life and group personal accident insurance, which is on top of our current welfare and compensation frameworks, is our way to thank (our national servicemen) for their contributions to national defence," said MINDEF's National Service Affairs director, Colonel (NS) Simon Lim.

Currently, SAF servicemen have the choice of opting into an insurance plan when they enlist, while those in the SPF and SCDF are automatically enrolled in schemes with premiums paid from their monthly allowance. Those in the SAF who are injured in the course of training can also seek compensation for medical expenses.

The new insurance coverage will be extended to regulars in MINDEF/SAF and the Home Team (Uniformed Officer) during their period of employment.

National Service volunteers, as well as volunteers from the SAF Volunteer Corps, SPF Voluntary Special Constabulary and Civil Defence Auxiliary Unit will also be covered during their official duties.

On top of this, national servicemen, regulars and volunteers can purchase additional coverage if they want to insure themselves outside these periods or insure their dependants under a Voluntary Scheme.

This Voluntary Scheme, which provides coverage of up to $1 million for group term life insurance and up to $600,000 for group personal accident insurance, is also open to other personnel from both MINDEF and the MHA, such as those from the Defence Science and Technology Agency and civilian staff of the MHA.

The scheme will be available from July 1 for MHA personnel and Oct 1 for MINDEF personnel.

The MHA director of the NS Affairs Directorate, Colonel (Ret) Rupert Gwee, said: "This group insurance is one of the many ways in which we look after the well-being of our officers, whether they are regulars, national servicemen or volunteers, as they go about their duties to keep Singapore safe and secure."

Aviva chief executive Nishit Majmudar said the company's existing dedicated portal for MINDEF/SAF personnel will be extended to MHA personnel. "We are also in the midst of mapping out enhancements for the portal to add new features that will benefit their personnel," said Mr Majmudar.

Full-time national serviceman Joshua Lim, 22, said the free insurance coverage was a good effort in caring for those in national service better.

"But I hope our safety standards don't become lax because of this, or people think they can perform riskier activities because they are now insured," he said.

Insurance boon for servicemen
By Lester Hio, The Straits Times, 25 Jun 2016

From next month, full-time and operationally ready national servicemen across the Singapore Armed Forces, the Singapore Police Force and the Singapore Civil Defence Force will be given free insurance coverage.

Both the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Home Affairs will provide life and group term insurance coverage of up to $150,000 during the servicemen's full-time national service or reservist duties.

Regulars and volunteers will also get the same insurance benefit.

The move was one of 30 recommendations made by the Committee to Strengthen National Service and was officially adopted on Tuesday.

Offering free insurance coverage shows a very tangible commitment by the Government in recognising the contributions of servicemen.

This has been a long time coming, as national service has been a Singaporean institution for almost half a century.

The National Service (Amendment) Act came into effect in March 1967.

And as times change and new challenges arise, such as the growing threats of extremism and terrorism, having a strong national service core is more important than ever.

Knowing that they are cared for and appreciated can be a morale boost for servicemen who have given their time and energy to national defence, whether voluntarily or not.

The free insurance scheme is also an acknowledgement of the difficult and dangerous work that goes into defending the country.

Those in national service undergo realistic training and intense physical activity, both of which hold a real risk of injury, even as safety is paramount.

This is necessary if the training is to be rigorous enough to prepare the conscripts should they be called to defend the country.

While nobody wants any training-related injury, the insurance cover will signal that our servicemen will be, and are, taken care of should it occur.

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