Firms told not to refuse virus claims

© Post Publishing PCL

At the moment, 25 insurance companies in Thailand are allowed to offer Covid-19 insurance. Pornprom Satrabhaya

The 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 in which the government announces that Thailand has entered Stage 3.

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

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

Mr Suthiphon 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.

Such policies only cover those living in Thailand.

Most insurance companies require a 14-day waiting period to prevent those already infected with the virus from exploiting the product.

“Covid-19 insurance is suitable for those who don’t have insurance coverage or social welfare, or for those who want to add protection to their existing welfare to better manage risk in case they are infected,” Mr Suthiphon said.

The OIC is also preparing to help policyholders with claim disputes, he said, adding that those who hold life insurance are covered free of charge if they are diagnosed with the virus.

Although the government is taking responsibility for medical bills for Covid-19 patients, coronavirus coverage policies have sold briskly, with more than 2 million policies taken out since February.

At the moment, 25 insurance companies are allowed to offer Covid 19 insurance.

Dusanee Intraha, a 49-year independent investor, said she took out Covid-19 insurance as an extra protection for herself, her son and her father, though they are covered by health insurance or state welfare for retired officials.

A dentist who requested anonymity said she has healthcare and life insurance coverage, but she bought Covid-19 insurance because her profession is at high risk of exposure to the virus.