Insurance boon for servicemen

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.

Lester Hio

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 25, 2016, with the headline 'Insurance boon for servicemen'. Print Edition | Subscribe