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Critical illness protection lacking in Hong Kong

Source: Asia Insurance Review | Sep 2015

One-third of people living in Hong Kong still grossly underestimate the costs associated with critical illness, findings of a recent survey commissioned by Friends Provident International showed. 
   Only 67% of respondents had critical illness coverage, the survey conducted among locals and expatriates in Hong Kong found.
   “Individuals should not ignore the potential risk of being diagnosed with critical illness. In Hong Kong, over 13,000 people died of cancer in 2013,” said Mr James Tan, Managing Director for Asia at Friends Provident International. “Our survey results, however, indicate that people may have underestimated their critical illness insurance needs and not be sufficiently protected.”
   Among those with no critical illness policies, 20% felt that their savings would be enough to cover their medical expenses. Within that same group, however, 39% of them acknowledged that they were unsure about the costs to expect. 
   Also, 65% of local respondents believed that the Voluntary Health Insurance Scheme proposed by the HKSAR government would not provide sufficient protection in the event of critical illness. However, 28% of them did not intend to have their own critical illness insurance in place to supplement the gap.
53% of expats do not have critical illness cover
The findings also revealed that while some expatriates – 49% of them – considered financial protection a top priority in their financial planning, many give less priority towards their critical illness protection needs. 53% of them they have not purchased any critical illness coverage. 
   “Most people, especially expatriates, focus heavily on protecting their income, because losing their job is a more tangible concept than developing critical illness. However, should they be unfortunately diagnosed, they might lose the ability to work. Critical illness insurance provides income protection in the form of a lump sum cash payment, offering flexibility in managing their expenses during recovery or treatment period,” said Mr Tan.
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