Accident insurance catering to seniors

Accident insurance catering to seniors

With the aging of society, insurance companies are offering accident insurance products to people starting at the age of 65, or even 70. These products are specifically aimed at ensuring optimal care for broken bones or long-term hospitalisation - both common occurrences among the elderly.

Accident insurance offers compensation if an injury or death occurs at work or elsewhere, and the insured must undergo medical treatment or hospitalisation. Unlike medical insurance, it does not include diseases.

Basic monthly plans typically cost about ¥1,000 (S$11) to ¥2,000, with no need to undergo a checkup or monitor physical health. Most conventional plans have required subscribers to be 69 years old or younger at the time of contract, which are renewed annually for many products.

However, with such common complaints as, "I fell down the stairs at home and broke my leg" and "I suffered a serious sports injury," insurance companies saw the need a few years ago to sell accident insurance products to seniors.

As people age, their backs and legs weaken. As a result, the risk of such injuries as broken bones - due to falls or other reasons - increases.

A Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry survey in 2011 estimated there were 115,000 patients in their 70s and 109,000 in their 80s who had suffered fractures - triple the numbers for those in their 30s and 40s.

For those aged 65 or older, the average hospital stay for injuries lasts 46.7 days, longer than for members of the working generation.

Based on injury type

Many accident insurance products for seniors offer benefits in lump sums for bone fractures and long-term hospitalisation, in addition to compensation based on such factors as length of hospital stay.

Zurich Insurance Co.'s care plan pays ¥3,000 per day for hospitalisation, plus an additional ¥50,000 for cases of fractures or dislocations under its "lump sums for broken bones."

If a subscriber undergoes surgery for a broken bone and is hospitalised for 30 days, a total of ¥170,000 is paid out - ¥90,000 for the hospitalisation, ¥30,000 for the surgery and a lump sum of ¥50,000 for broken bones.

Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Insurance Inc.'s Kegano-hoken mamoru plan (bodily injury protection plan) provides lump sums from ¥35,000 to ¥70,000 for a hospitalisation of 30 days or longer, depending on the contract.

Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co.'s Hareyaka sedai (radiant generation) pays up to ¥240,000 in compensation depending on the part of the body affected and symptoms, along with a lump sum of ¥100,000 for fractures or dislocations.

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