New insurance scheme to cover migrant workers against critical illnesses, non-work related deaths from 2021

Only migrant workers with a valid work permit or S Pass and are 60 years and younger are eligible for the scheme. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

SINGAPORE - An insurance scheme will be introduced in January 2021 to cover migrant workers against non-work related death, total and permanent disability as well as critical illnesses.

The scheme, underwritten by NTUC Income, will be available from Jan 1, and the premium that employers of these workers need to pay is $9 a year for each worker.

It was announced on Wednesday (Sept 30) by the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and philanthropic organisation Leap201, and is the first of its kind.

Only migrant workers who hold a valid work permit or S Pass and are 60 years and younger are eligible for the scheme.

Also, the first 50,000 workers who are signed up for it will have their premiums subsidised for the first two years. Their employers will have to pay just $3 annually for each worker.

This has been made possible by the $600,000 raised so far by Leap201 and NTUC's Migrant Workers' Centre (MWC).

The payout from the insurer is $10,000 when the worker dies from non-work related accidents or suffers total and permanent disability.

Workers stricken with critical illnesses will receive up to $10,000 each. The 37 critical illnesses include major cancer, stroke with permanent neurological deficit and heart attack of specified severity.

"From MWC's experience, unexpected heart attacks, cancer, stroke and diabetes are some of the leading causes of death among the migrant worker community in Singapore," said MWC's chairman Yeo Guat Kwang.

NTUC Income's chief executive Andrew Yeo also noted: "When migrant workers are rendered unable to work due to serious injuries, illnesses or worse, death, their loved ones at home are also very much impacted, as many migrant workers here are breadwinners of their families."

The chairman of Leap201, Mr Michael Lien, urged employers and dormitory operators to buy the insurance. "It is up to us to care for the very people who helped build our country in their time of need," he said.

Industry partners and employer groups who wish to be early adopters of the scheme can e-mail MWC.

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