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What does being a ‘mutual’ actually mean?

18 July 2023

Mutual, it’s more than just a word. It means we have strength in numbers to help protect you and your career. 

After over 50 years of protecting healthcare professionals in Singapore, we know we’ve always been different. Different in a good way.

We’re different because we are a member-owned, not-for-profit organisation that uses a discretionary approach to provide assistance. Our membership is designed to give you the protection you need to practise with confidence in today’s complex and uncertain healthcare environment.


What is a ‘mutual’?

Mutual means we’re owned by our 300,000 members around the world. As a mutual we bring you and other healthcare professionals together in a common purpose: collective protection against the risks involved in clinical practice.

We are different to shareholder-owned companies whose primary purpose is to make money for other people. As we don’t answer to shareholders, there is no one to pay dividends to or to tell us to abandon our purpose because the profit isn’t there. All our decisions are focused on doing what’s best for our membership. We take mutuality seriously because it’s our commitment to you, not just today, but for as long as you need us.

Members often ask us how we can be not-for-profit. It simply means we don’t make a profit for shareholders, because we don’t have any. Instead, any surplus is reinvested to meet the needs of members. Our recent offering of subscription relief during the COVID-19 pandemic was possible due to our status as a mutual.

We’re always seeking to improve the benefits and services offered to members, adapting to the emerging threats in clinical negligence, and challenging the root causes of the claims environment.

What do we use our funds for?

We use our funds:

• To provide benefits to members today.

• To assist and support members in the future.

• To reinvest in our services; maintaining the excellence and expertise which members deserve and have come to expect from Dental Protection.

• To run our business effectively and in the interest of members.

This is how our use of membership funds was split in 2022

48% Claims costs and associated legal costs (including costs of insurance taken to reduce our risk)

24% Dentolegal advisory costs and associated legal costs

21% Administration

3% Education, publications and external relations

3% Other expenditure


A further benefit of our approach is the ability for ‘discretion’

Our indemnity is based on the principle of discretion. This means we can consider every case on its individual merit and be adaptable to meeting the diverse needs of our members. Dental Protection opened nearly 100 new cases in Singapore in 2022.

The dental landscape is continually changing and is rarely straightforward; new challenges and issues constantly arise, some of which were inconceivable just a few years ago. Discretion means we can offer help in unusual circumstances or where a new problem appears. It's why we use people, not contracts to make these decisions.

Because we are a discretionary organisation, our starting point is always 'how can we help?'

View the full list of benefits available to Dental Protection members here.