Joint Response to "Explain delays in issuing insurance fair practice guidelines" - The Straits Times, 9 March 2022
We refer to Mr Daryl Yang Wei Jian's letter, "Explain delays in issuing insurance fair practice guidelines" (March 9).
The Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) are committed to ensuring that persons with disabilities are treated fairly when seeking insurance coverage. In recent years, we have actively engaged relevant individuals and medical experts, disability groups, and the insurance industry to advance this objective.
MAS has made clear to insurers its expectations that they must deal fairly with persons with disabilities. Insurers are committed to underwriting assessments that are evidence-based, and have reminded their agents that applications from persons with disabilities should be subject to the same underwriting process as other customers, and should not be turned away. MAS has engaged key global reinsurers to ensure that the underwriting practices of insurers here are aligned with the best practices adopted by their international peers.
MAS and MSF have consulted relevant medical professionals to ascertain that the underwriting standards of the insurance industry are grounded in science. Members of the public can continue to highlight individual cases of concern to MAS. Where any financial institution is found to be dealing unfairly with its customers, MAS will direct the financial institution to take remedial actions and review their policies and processes to prevent a recurrence.
We regret that the process of codifying these fair underwriting principles into transparent guidelines for insurers has taken much longer than expected. We had to conduct a few in-depth reviews to develop and refine the approach to be taken. This included reviewing guidance from the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and consulting industry practitioners, insurance industry associations, and relevant disability groups. Last year, MAS further assessed that the scope of the proposed guidelines could be expanded to include other types of financial institutions, transactions, and customers. This will allow the guidelines on fair and responsible practices to benefit more customers, including persons with disabilities.
MAS and MSF will continue to engage stakeholders when the public consultation on the proposed guidelines is issued.