Prudential empowers a healthier workforce in Singapore
Like many countries in Asia, Singapore is beginning to feel the impact of an ageing population on both society and the workplace. By 2030, one in four Singaporeans will be aged 65 and above, with many expected to remain in the workforce beyond their retirement age.
And while they are living longer, they are not spending their added years in good health. Today, two out of five Singaporeans over 60 have three or more chronic diseases.
Insurer Prudential has been working on addressing these issues as part of a region-wide strategy to promote greater preventative care.
Terence Soo, Head of Health Ecosystem, Prudential Singapore, told HRM Asia, “Prudential is going beyond our traditional role of protecting lives and paying out claims, to helping people live well and for longer.”
Last year, Prudential launched an app to achieve this, as Soo highlighted, “We launched Pulse by Prudential, a digital health and wellness app, based on a three-pronged approach of Prevent, Protect and Postpone. Through the app, our aim is to empower our ageing workforce, by enabling individuals to better manage their health and wellbeing on a personal level, so that they can live well for longer and enjoy productive extended careers.”
With life expectancy in Singapore hitting 83.6 years in 2020, and expected to increase, the emphasis needs to be on disease prevention, as chronic diseases continue to rise among the elderly, Soo added.
“Where a greying workforce is concerned, health is a crucial ingredient as the workforce ages so that workers can work beyond their retirement age in good health,” he suggested.
Citing a study Prudential conducted in 2019, Soo revealed that more than half of the health practitioners surveyed warned that Singaporeans are not prepared for health-related costs and expenses of old age.
80 percent of the health practitioners highlighted the prioritisation of disease prevention, while 70 percent said individuals need to be responsible for the support of their own healthy aging.
Pulse by Prudential (“Pulse”) thus, is designed to make Singaporeans more prepared to support healthy aging, as they look to continue to be productive members of the workforce in their golden years.
Making healthcare affordable and accessible to all
Available to both Prudential and non-Prudential customers, Pulse is designed to empower people to take charge of their health.
The app’s AI-powered symptom checker provides fast and clinically validated information based on symptoms experienced and directs users to seek advice from healthcare professionals. Alerts on specific symptoms and conditions that could be related to COVID-19 are also provided, while users are advised to follow the recommendations provided by local health authorities as the pandemic situation evolves.
Users can also use an AI-driven Healthcheck function to get a report on their overall health status and long-term disease risks based on their lifestyle habits, medical history, family’s medical history, diet and mental health. The report is presented through “Digital Twin”, a 3D rendering of a human body that includes health advice to help one reduce disease risks and improve overall wellbeing.
For those who may feel physically unwell to visit the clinic, a video consultation with a GP can be scheduled via Pulse. GPs are available 24/7 and will diagnose and advice on the appropriate treatment, whenever applicable.
Soo said, “By launching the app during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in Singapore, we wanted to help people access healthcare services round-the-clock and find health information in real-time. With movement especially restricted during the circuit breaker, the app helps support people in the comfort of their homes”.
Since its launch, the app has been fitted with more features. A Body Mass and Wrinkle Index feature for instance, allows users to understand body fat and ageing speeds by uploading a selfie. The app also has a “My Wearables” feature that uses information from a user’s wearable to guide them in achieving health goals such as weight management.
Providing COVID-19 support and bite-sized insurance
With COVID-19 vaccinations being administered in Singapore, Prudential is offering PRUSafe COVID-19 cover, a complimentary plan to cover individuals who are hospitalised for side effects from a COVID-19 jab. The plan is available on Pulse from 26 January 2021 to 31 July 2021. Valid until January 2022, the plan provides cash allowances of S$100 daily, up to a maximum of 14 days.
The life insurer is also offering a suite of microinsurance products providing coverage for conditions such as dengue, breast cancer and prostate cancer.
Soo said, “We realise there is a growing demand for simple insurance plans that can be purchased with ease. Our three bite-sized plans have been made available for purchase exclusively on Pulse as a result of this. We want people to be able to buy simple insurance coverage conveniently from anywhere and at any time.”
Ensuring the long-term wellbeing of employees
While Singapore has announced that up to 75 percent of employees are now allowed to return to the office, flexible and hybrid work arrangements that continue to include work from home (WFH), are likely to remain in place for some time.
For some employees, adapting to new and hybrid ways of working causes uncertainty and anxiety, and they will need to feel supported as they navigate this ‘new normal’, Soo highlighted.
“Thus, it is important for organisations to continue to support employees during this time, and to share the message that help is available, including through platforms such as Pulse,” he added.
To promote overall wellness for employees, Prudential kickstarted a series of mental health events that employees can access via a mental health app. Fitness and wellness activities were moved online so that employees could continue to work out virtually and keep up their fitness while bonding with their colleagues.
A 24/7 helpline managed by professional counsellors provided emotional support, while Pulse provided free access to telemedicine consultation, including medication and delivery fee.
Click here for more information on Pulse and download the app.