Surge in demand for Covid-19 insurance

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There has been increase in demand for insurance that covers the new coronavirus or Covid-19, Suthiphon Thaweechaiyagarn, Office of Insurance Commission (OIC) secretary-general, said.

“As of March 18, more than 2 million insurance policies have been sold with total premium of over Bt1 billion by 25 insurance companies,” he said. “However, some companies have halted the selling of insurance that pays immediately when customers test positive for Covid-19 due to the higher rate of infection in Thailand.”

“We have advised insurance companies to evaluate the risk and their reimbursement capability closely to make sure that increasing numbers of infected won’t affect payout of benefits to customers and their financial status in the future,” he added.

Suthiphon also added that the OIC has received reports about some people buying Covid-19 insurance and intentionally going to areas with high risk of infection to get themselves infected. “This action is considered an insurance fraud under the Civil and Commercial Code and an insurance company can refuse to pay if a customer’s claim is based on fraudulent intent, carelessness or negligence,” he said.

When asked if insurance companies could refuse to pay claims on Covid-19 insurance bought earlier if the government now declares phase three of the pandemic, Suthiphon said the OIC has already prohibited insurance companies from doing so.

“On March 17, the OIC issued an announcement that all Covid-19 insurers must honour their compensation agreement even when the situation is raised to phase 3,” he said. “However, we urge customers to study the insurance conditions carefully and make sure that you are not infected with Covid-19 prior to buying the insurance.”

Suthiphon also added that Covid-19 insurance will not cover those who travelled to risky countries 14 days prior to buying the insurance, as well as those who are in quarantine or suspected of infection and are under monitoring by medical staff.

“The OIC will soon propose to the Ministry of Finance a plan for Covid-19 insurance for low income earners,” said Suthiphon. “Under this plan, the insurance premium could go as low as Bt99 per year, with benefits of up to Bt100,000 in case of infection, and daily compensation at Bt300 for a maximum period of 30 days in case customers are in quarantine or hospital care and cannot work.”

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