Taipei, May 7 (CNA) People in Taiwan who hold infectious disease insurance policies need not rush to file claims amid surging COVID-19 cases, as their rights are fully protected, the Financial Supervisory Commission said on Saturday.
As long as claims filed for COVID-19 infections are legitimate, insurers will have to pay their customers, according to the terms of the policies they hold, FSC Chairman Huang Tien-mu (黃天牧) said.
“We will ensure policyholders are protected,” Huang said at the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) daily press briefing, in response to concerns about the impact of the current COVID-19 spike on insurers.
He said the government-backed financial ombudsman institution was working to resolve complaints it had received from infectious disease insurance policyholders about disputed claims.
In addition, the FSC has asked insurance companies to increase their staff to speed up claims processing and handle disputes related to these policies, Huang added.
Meanwhile, policyholders are urged not to go to hospitals just to get a medical certificate of their diagnosis, as health workers need to focus on more pressing matters, he said, adding that the Insurance Act provides a two-year time limit for a claim to be filed.
According to attorney Beck Liu (劉北元), who sat on a panel of the Bureau of Insurance to review life insurance products.
FSC data valid as of April 29 showed there were 6 million valid infectious disease insurance policies in Taiwan, and insurers had paid out NT$875 million (US$29.47 million) this year out of 20,450 claims filed by policyholders who had been infected with COVID -19 or listed as contacts.
Taiwan Fire & Marine Insurance Co. was the first company in Taiwan to sell infectious disease insurance policies that covered COVID-19 and the cost of quarantine for people listed as contacts.
When the policies were first issued in December 2020, with an annual premium of NT$500, the company sold over 4 million policies in the first month, raising over NT$1.9 billion.
During Taiwan’s first spike in national COVID-19 cases in May 2021, however, the company paid nearly all of the NT$1.9 billion in claims.
The company also saw its risk-based capital ratio drop by more than 1,000% to 579.6%, although it remained within the 200% minimum required by regulators.
Most of the insurance policies, which were valid for one year, were not renewed by Taiwan Fire & Marine Insurance when they expired earlier this year, and the company is expected to face losses of more than 400 million NT dollars, according to industry insiders.
On Saturday, Taiwan reported 46,536 new cases of COVID-19, including 46,377 domestic infections.
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