New motor insurance policy for elderly drivers launched

A new motor insurance policy specially designed for elderly drivers has been rolled out by the Automobile Association of Singapore (AAS). -- ST FILE PHOTO: CAROLINE CHIA
A new motor insurance policy specially designed for elderly drivers has been rolled out by the Automobile Association of Singapore (AAS). -- ST FILE PHOTO: CAROLINE CHIA

A new motor insurance policy specially designed for elderly drivers has been rolled out by the Automobile Association of Singapore (AAS).

The "AA Senior Motor Plus" policy introduced on Thursday is targeted at drivers aged 65 and above. It was launched in collaboration with Liberty Insurance and the Singapore Optometric Association.

It will come with benefits such as a 5 per cent discount for eligible policyholders with 30 or more years of experience, and a free medical examination, required of drivers above 65 years old by the Traffic Police. "This policy will meet the needs of senior drivers and take into consideration their driving records and claims experience," said Mr Bernard Tay, president of AAS.

Most insurers believe that older drivers have slower reflexes and may be more accident-prone, said Mr Tay. But this view does not also consider that older drivers are more stable, emotionally mature and experienced, he added.

Last July, the Monetary Authority of Singapore also urged motor insurers to offer a suitable motor insurance product for this group of drivers, while the Land Transport Authority has said that it is reviewing a suggestion for a MediShield-like scheme for such drivers.

"We launched this policy now as we note Singapore's ageing population and some unhappiness among seniors who have to pay higher premiums, so we felt a responsibility to act," said Mr Derek Low, executive vice-president for personal lines at Liberty Insurance.

Giving an example of a 68-year-old driver with a good driving record, he also noted that premiums under the policy would be cheaper compared to the three main insurers by more than $300.

The policy also comes at a time when there are more senior drivers on the road. According to Traffic Police statistics, the number of driving licence holders older than 65 has doubled from 118,237 in 2006 to 234,371 at the end of September last year. If the trend continues, this group could hit half a million by 2020.

The 107-year-old AAS has about 6,300 members who are 70 or older. Motorists who are 60 and older accounted for 15.6 per cent of road accidents in 2012, up from 11.6 per cent in 2009.