Thai insurers told not to refuse virus claims as demand spikes

Pedro Gonçalves
clock
Thai insurers told not to refuse virus claims as demand spikes

Thailand's Office of Insurance Commission (OIC) affirmed that insurance companies cannot refuse claims made by those who take out coronavirus insurance coverage, even for worst-case scenarios.

The move comes after it was revealed that several insurers are looking to suspend sales of insurance for COVID-19, as they have reportedly come closer to their policy threshold of 500,000 to 700,000.

Suthiphon Thaveechaiyagarn, secretary-general of the Office of Insurance Commission (OIC), said that some insurers were revising protection conditions, such as adding a 14-day waiting period from purchase to coverage date, a Bangkok Post report said.

Thaveechaiyagarn added that the popularity of such policies was unprecedented, with sales spiking sharply in recent weeks due to the rapid spread of infections. The OIC has authorised 25 insurers to offer insurance for COVID-19, with 20 of them having already released their products.

While the Thai government is said to be bearing all medical expenses for coronavirus patients, policyholders are seeking greater financial protection and peace of mind by purchasing coronavirus insurance.

If the spread of the epidemic worsens in the future, insurers cannot use that fact to reject claims, Thaveechaiyagarn said.

Policyholder fraud is the only cause for which insurance companies can deny claim payment, he said.

Thaveechaiyagarn  recommended that consumers who want to take out Covid-19 policies peruse the terms and conditions to make sure they truly understand them, since the protection will not cover those infected with the virus before the policy takes effect or insured persons who don't tell the truth.

Moreover, Covid-19 micro-insurance does not cover those travelling to high-risk countries and territories within 14 days before the insurance policy comes into effect.

As of March 18, over two million COVID-19 insurance policies had been sold, most of which gave a lump-sum payout in case the policyholder was diagnosed with the disease.

Such policies only cover those living in Thailand.

 

Subscribe to International Investment's free, twice-daily, newsletter