THE FINANCIAL SECTOR:
KEY SUPERVISORY AND REGULATORY INITIATIVES
     
Content Page
Supervision
Regulation
Risk-based Regulatory Regime
Fine-Tuning Regulatory framework
Ensuring Sound Market Conduct
Innovative Systems for Efficient Payment
and Settlement
 
 
ENSURING SOUND MARKET CONDUCT
 
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Publishing Unlicenced Operators . Box 6 – Integrated Dispute Resolution Scheme
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Enhancing Management of Insurance Agents . Helping Consumers Better Understand “Critical Year”
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Consulting Industry on CIS . Box 7 – MoneySENSE – Singapore’s Financial Education Programme
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Health Insurance and Changing Demographics . Box 9 – Coping with E-Banking Risks
 
Health Insurance and Changing Demographics
 
Given Singapore’s changing demographics, including an ageing population, MAS enacted a new Health Insurance Regulatory Framework in the IA in 2004. There were previously no provisions in the IA which were specifically applicable to the health insurance business. Existing provisions were geared towards regulating short-term, yearly-renewable health insurance products. The IA has been amended to help ensure that insurers can better provide long-term health insurance coverage for consumers.

As a member of the Ministry of Health’s 3Ms Review Committee, MAS is helping to review the Medisave, Medishield and Medifund schemes. The committee will also consider the medium- to long-term role of medical insurance in Singapore.

In addition, we participate in the Economic Review Subcommittee on policies related to taxation and wages. The subcommittee is looking into setting up the Transferable Medical Insurance Scheme, which will have two key features – transferability and continuity. The scheme will allow employees of selected companies to retain the coverage under their company’s group policies for up to a year while they are between jobs.

In view of the importance of health insurance products to a wide spectrum of the population, MAS introduced a new regulatory framework for accident and health (A&H) insurance effective 1 April 2004. The new framework governs the conduct of intermediaries selling A&H products, ensuring that customers are adequately advisedon how to make sound product choices. Rules under the new framework are aligned with those which intermediaries have to follow under the FAA. Insurers are also required to be more transparent in their policy documents so that customers are fully informed and aware of the features and implications of each health insurance policy.

During the year, MAS worked with the Life Insurance Association of Singapore (LIA) to standardise the definitions of critical illnesses (CI) used in CI policies. This helped toreduce confusion among consumers when comparing CI policies across insurers and ensure that they do not inadvertently end up with less coverage than they need. It also allows for greater competition and a more level playing field among the insurers. Currently, all insurers offering CI policies use the standardised CI definitions.

The Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2003 had raised fears that, due to policy exclusions, insurance companies might not offer coverage against SARS, or withdraw this coverage if the situation deteriorated. MAS undertook a survey to investigate the extent of coverage. The survey revealed that coverage was largely available. A list of the insurers which provide SARS coverage is available on the websites of LIA and GIA.