The way I see Early Critical (ECI) is that it's a way of evening out the odds.
As tech advances, the average Singapore life expectancy also improves. People die older and live with weakened immunity systems longer (8 out of your 82 years of your life, in fact). Throw in Singapore's stress levels and increasingly drug-resistant diseases and you have increased rates of critical illnesses such as cancer and cardiovascular conditions.
A study showed that only 20% of working adults have enough protection and many forget to account for the loss in income when illness strikes (47% of those diagnosed are the sole breadwinners). And what happens if you fall ill not just once, but multiple times? The risk of someone getting cancer again is 20-30% and companies are less likely to sell you a second plan since you likely will have to claim on it.
But what does this mean for your insurance? In a nutshell, it means that your ECI insurance takes priority over Life.
1. ECI insurance helps you tide over the dark days.
What happens when you contract cancer?
You start paying through the nose for treatment.
Your work efficiency slips, possibly leading to retrenchment / forced leave. For some, the industry might move on without them, leading to skillset obsolescence.
Severe emotional / mental strain. Are you going to have the same level of motivation to work, or would you rather seize the time to be with family?
Increased expenditure due to significant lifestyle changes. E.g. spending on organic foods / meal deliveries and transport (you might not be able to continue taking the MRT / bus).
Simply put, the ECI payout protects you during this extremely volatile period. And if you're able to start kicking your illness in the butt early on (with ECI rather than CI), you might actually have money leftover by the time you're done. Good news: Survival rates are improving so your chances of a future look great!
What's Life insurance going to do for you here?
2. ECI Insurance gives you opportunities.
One thing about having a near-death experience / surviving cancer is that it often gives you a renewed perspective on life.
It could be anything from considering a career change to wanting to spend more time with your loved ones rather than work. Having an ECI payout helps ease the overall financial strain so that you won't be saddled with so much debt afterwards. Now, you can focus on making your (new) dreams come true.
It's not necessarily about having new perspectives either. Just like how people like taking breaks after quitting their jobs, you might just want a little R&R after killing months at the hospital. In any case, this little sabbatical is going to require money.
ECI Insurance is for You.
A Life insurance payout does not benefit you (except maybe to buy your afterlife condo), it only benefits the people you leave behind. You may not have dependants to support but you will always be an individual.
You should always focus on NOT going broke yourself before you can even think about supporting someone else.