Ageing society

Insurers battle over dementia policies as Japan’s population ages

Some policies include costs for finding people when they go wandering off

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 18 August, 2018, 4:38pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 18 August, 2018, 9:09pm

Insurers in Japan are competing to offer a variety of dementia insurance and related services for the country’s ageing population.

Policyholders can claim lump sum benefits once they are diagnosed with mild symptoms of dementia, while search costs for wandering dementia patients are also covered.

One in five people among those aged 65 or older, or about 7 million people, are projected to suffer from dementia in 2025, according to an estimate by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.

Starting in October, Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Himawari Life Insurance will provide insurance policies for those diagnosed with early signs of dementia. If insured people develop the disease, they could receive benefits of up to 250,000 yen (US$2,300) from the company.

Its parent company, Sompo Holdings, will meanwhile provide information to policyholders about delaying the development of dementia on its website.

Also in October, Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance will start selling policies with a coverage of an annual limit of 1 million yen. The policy will shoulder transport and other costs to search for wandering dementia patients.

“Patients going missing is what makes their family members most anxious,” said a spokesman for the Tokyo-based insurer.

The insurance is available for a premium of 1,300 yen per month and can cover damages of up to 100 million yen in such cases where people with dementia wander onto railway lines and stop train operations.

Several other Japanese insurers such as MetLife and Asahi Mutual Life Insurance have been offering their own dementia insurance packages.

Taiyo Life Insurance has offered dementia insurance since March 2016, in which policyholders can receive a lump sum payout of up to 3 million yen once diagnosed with dementia. About 380,000 of the policies have been sold.

Nippon Life Insurance is providing a service via the Amazon Echo smart speaker in which users can answer a set of quizzes as part of brain-training exercises to prevent the risk of developing dementia.