Business

Insurers bolster dementia insurance offerings as Japan grays

Kyodo

Insurers are competing to offer dementia insurance products and services as the population continues to rapidly gray.

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

One out of every five people 65 or older is projected to have dementia by 2025, a Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry estimate says. That’s about 7 million people.

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

Its parent, Sompo Holdings Inc., will meanwhile provide policyholders with information on its website on how to delay the development of the disease.

Also in October, Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Co. will start selling a product that provides coverage up to an annual limit of ¥1 million. The policy will shoulder transportation and other costs incurred when searching for missing dementia patients.

“Patients vanishing 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 per month and can cover damages of up to ¥100 million in cases where people with dementia wander onto train tracks and delay rail operations.

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

Taiyo Life Insurance Co. started offering dementia insurance in March 2016, giving policyholders a lump-sum payout of up to ¥3 million when diagnosed with dementia. About 380,000 of the policies have been sold.

Nippon Life Insurance Co. is providing a service via the Amazon Echo smart speaker that allows clients to take quizzes as part of brain-training exercises aimed at lowering the risk of dementia.