Singapore's insurance trade bodies issue coronavirus advisory

Pedro Gonçalves
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Singapore's insurance trade bodies issue coronavirus advisory

The General Insurance Association (GIA) of Singapore and the Life Insurance Association Singapore have issued an advisory on the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak and how it affects travel insurance coverage and claims.

"Integrated Shield Plans (IPs) and IP riders will provide coverage for hospitalisation expenses related to 2019-nCoV. Many non-IP individual and Group health insurance policies will also provide coverage for medical expenses related to 2019-nCoV," the trade bodies said in a joint statement.

The associations advised consumers with existing travel insurance policies or claims related to or arising from the event, such as travel cancellation, flight postponement, and trip curtailment, to approach their insurer if they are in doubt about whether a claim is covered in their respective travel insurance policies.

"Most insurers consider the (outbreak) a known event and have issued consumer advisories on travel insurance claims," said the GIA. Known events are often incidents that have been reported in the media that may affect travel plans.

Policies may not cover losses caused by an event that was made known to the public at the time of purchase, to which a cut-off date could have been implemented.

For example, insurer Aviva is allowing its customers who have bought travel insurance policies before Jan 20 to claim for non-refundable travel and accommodation costs and entertainment costs that have been paid. Customers can submit a trip cancellation request within 30 days from their departure date to Wuhan in central China.

Those who are travelling elsewhere but are affected by the coronavirus can claim for unused and non-refundable travel, accommodation and entertainment costs that they have paid.

They can also claim for a quarantine allowance of between $50 and $500, depending on the policies they bought.

Tokio Marine's life insurance policyholders can receive $5,000 - limited to the first 50 submissions - if they contracted the virus to help them "tide over challenging times", Tokio Marine said in a statement.

The GIA was established in 1966 and represents 37 ordinary member firms that are licensed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to transact general insurance business in Singapore.

 

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