Singapore Risk Assessment Country Guide

Expat Life in Singapore

The small island nation of Singapore, situated off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula ,has become an industrial center and a bustling commercial hub in Southeast Asia.

While in Singapore, be cautious of any potential scams, especially those involving false claims of molest, according to the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO). In addition, certain crimes, like drugs, carry strict penalties including imprisonment and the death penalty.

Many foreigners visit the country each year, and most visits are routine and trouble-free. However, certain risks are present in Singapore, and travelers should consider international insurance policies to help manage the costs of life abroad. With its crowded port and expansive urban sprawl, the nation is a popular destination for many expats and international organizations.

  • Health
  • Safety & Security
  • Terrorism
  • Business Customs

On September 11, 2015, the CDC issued a Watch – Level 1 for Singapore for the increased reported cases of hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD). As of late August 2015, more than 18,000 cases of HFMD have been reported. The disease is contagious and caused by different viruses; symptoms include fever, painful blister-like sores in the mouth, and a rash that may appear as blisters. Travelers should wash their hands, feet, and mouth often and avoid those with the disease. 

Singapore is known for its quality health care and high standards. In relation, the costs of treatment are quite high, and adequate medical insurance is a valuable asset to cover the cost of any care while abroad.

Clements Worldwide provides GlobalCare® health insurance to reduce out-of-pocket expenses while living in Singapore. A GlobalCare policy includes USD 5 million in health care benefits, as well as flexible payment options and choice of deductible.

In addition to health care, you may want to elect a Medical Evacuation and Repatriation insurance policy with Clements. This covers expenses to transport you to a capable medical facility in case a local medical center isn’t able to provide adequate treatment.

Singapore is afflicted with high pollution levels between the June and September months due to fires in Indonesia, which may cause health problems for some people. Mosquito-borne illnesses are also common, particularly dengue fever, chikungunya fever and Japanese encephalitis. Cases of dengue have been on the rise since early 2013. Serious outbreaks of Hand, Foot and Mouth disease have also been reported in the island nation.

Call us today at +1.202.872.0060 or 800.872.0067 or email to discuss your organization’s travel needs tailored to considerations involved while operating in Singapore.

Source: UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Clements Worldwide 

Contact a Clements Representative for Insurance Solutions

With the recent missing AirAsia Flight QZ8501 on December 28 2014, travelers should be cautious when going abroad. The flight was traveling from Indonesdia to Singapore and went missing over the Java Sea. The plane crashed due to bad weather, killing all 162 passengers on board.   

Roads in Singapore are typically in decent shape. A valid driving license and an International Driving Permit are required to drive in the country for up to 12 months. If you plan on staying longer, a valid Singapore driving license is needed past that point.

Clements offers international car insurance, which includes Physical Damage, Third Party Liability, and Excess Liability coverage. With flexible deductible options and fast claims processing, your policy will provide coverage for your vehicle fleet whether it’s on the road, parked or transported abroad. 

Mariners in and around the waters of Singapore should be cautious to avoid piracy and other attacks. Incidents have been reported in areas such as the Malacca Straits, and appropriate precautions should be taken. With Clements, you can have Maritime Security insurance. Coverage ensures compliance with BIMCO insurance requirements and GUARDCON standards that will achieve cost savings, better coverage, and more efficient policy administration.

Call us today at +1.202.872.0060 or 800.872.0067 or email to discuss your organization’s travel needs tailored to considerations involved while operating in Singapore.

Source: UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Clements Worldwide 

Contact a Clements Representative for Insurance Solutions

There is a low to moderate threat of terrorism in Singapore. While attacks are rare, they could target public locations like those often visited by expats and tourists. The Singapore Government currently takes significant measures to prevent terrorism within the country.

Clements provides War and Terrorism insurance for both group and individual policies. These extensions offer the right coverage against the risks of civil unrest, war, riots, looting, and acts of terrorism.

In addition to War and Terrorism coverage, you may want a Kidnap and Ransom insurance policy while living in Singapore. Indemnity ensures financial assistance following a kidnapping, such as independent investigations, negotiations, arrangement and delivery of funds.

Call us today at +1.202.872.0060 or 800.872.0067 or email to discuss your organization’s travel needs tailored to considerations involved while operating in Singapore.

Source: UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Clements Worldwide 

Contact a Clements Representative for Insurance Solutions

Singapore is also known for being a country much stricter laws than most western countries. Below are rules and regulations you should be mindful of, many of them carry very strict penalties.

Expat Life in Singapore

  • It  is illegal in Singapore to sell or import chewing gum. While it is legal to chew, being caught bringing in gum to the country could be considered “smuggling” and you could face up to a $5,500 fine.
  • Paying a heavy tax for alcohol
  • Do not smoke in public. The current fine for first time offenders can be as much as $1,000. 
  • No public displays of affection (even between married persons). Unwanted touching, both violent or sexual, falls under the "Outrage of Modesty" law. Violations of this law can bring up to two years in prison, caning, or a fine.
  • Do not speak out against the government (even jokingly) as they have strict censorship laws and you can be detained without trial according to their Internal Security Act and Criminal Law Act.

But just like in every experience abroad, if you accept these differences, you’ll find yourself transitioning to life in Singapore much more smoothly. You may even forget that hugging a friend in public is the norm back home.

Business culture is very structured in Singapore. Make sure to follow the guidelines below when in a business meeting or other social settings while in Singapore.

  • Being on time is important for business meetings. Being late to a meeting is a sign of great disrespect.
  • Don't use your left hand to greet, wave, eat or interact with someone of Malay, Indian or Indonesian descent because it's the hand associated with using the restroom.
  • Handshakes are the traditional form of greeting but traditional Singaporean Malays and Indians might not shake hands of members of the opposite sex; Singaporean Chinese may bow when greeting or leaving a business meetings, but won't expect this of foreigners.
  • Gifts may be considered bribes, so save your gift giving for more appropriate countries like Japan.
  • Seniority is important—eldest should be greeted first.
  • Sometimes "yes" means "no" or "maybe," because Singaporeans want to avoid conflict.
  • Avoid direct eye contact for long periods; it's considered rude.

As an expatriate working abroad, you will need to know about the business customs of any country you will be doing business in. Learn more about the business customs of Japan.

Japanese Business Etiquette Tips

Call us today at +1.202.872.0060 or 800.872.0067 or e-mail to discuss your needs.