Tough wake-up call from pandemic.
“Not missiles but microbes,’’ said Bill Gates on a potential killer in the future.
When Gates warned, in a 2015 TED Talk, of ‘a highly infectious virus rather than war,’ that will most likely kill lots of people, did many people take him seriously?
If they did, they would have been better prepared. This pandemic that is leading to lockdowns, has left many floundering.
Those who get infected may not be properly covered; those suffering from work stoppage or business interruptions, may also not be adequately compensated.
While there is coverage for damages from mother nature like floods and earthquakes, few have heard of policies that pay for a virus outbreak.
Until the rate of mortality is clear, insurers cannot assess the risk to underwrite it, said Daniel Tan, agency manager of Evimero, representing Allianz Life Insurance.
There is some assistance available.
Under the government’s second stimulus package, insurance and takaful companies will set up an RM8 million fund for the testing of Covid-19, up to RM300 per policy member.
While medical policies have an exclusion on communicable diseases quarantined by law, most insurance companies had waived this clause under scenarios like SARs and H1N1, and paid admission costs, hospitalisation benefits and related expenses, based on policy terms and conditions.
To include such a perpetual clause in a policy would entail costly premiums and complicated actuarial calculations.
In the case of coronavirus, some insurance companies offer additional coverage like cash payments on diagnosis, cash assistance during hospitalization at government facilities and payouts upon death, said JL, chief marketing officer, IHM Sdn Bhd.
Now, in the wake of this terrible scourge, pandemic insurance has become a new area to be looked into.
We went to Assunta School together, many years ago, and we caught up again, outside the supermarket, stocking up for MCO. Leng Kuen had a respected career as a senior business editor and widely read columnist speaking plainly, for the leading local newspaper. She continues to write for The Star Online. I am delighted to share her view points and insights, here.