COVID-19 medical insurance insurance policies’ tenure could also be prolonged, hints IRDAI chairman

Considering the high number of coronavirus cases in the country, the insurance regulator is mulling to extend the tenure of COVID-19 insurance products. “With regard to extending the tenure of the COVID-19 related products, we are hoping that the vaccine would not be delayed for too long. But now that it appears that it will take some more time, we will take decision about extending the tenure of the policy at an appropriate time,” Subhash C Khuntia, chairman, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (Irdai) said.

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The insurance regulator earlier instructed the companies to introduce standard health insurance products to fight against coronavirus. Inaugurated in July, Corona Kavach is an indemnity plan that will cover all the hospitalisation expenses. The cost of treatment for any co-morbid condition, including pre-existing co-morbid conditions along with the treatment for COVID-19, will be covered under this policy. The sum insured in Corona Kavach policy ranges from 50,000 to 5 lakh. The tenure of the policy varies from three-and-a-half months, six-and-a-half months and nine-and-a-half months.

Corona Rakshak is a fixed benefit plan in which if a policyholder is diagnosed with COVID-19 and hospitalised for three days, a fixed amount (which is sum insured) will be paid by the insurance companies. For Corona Rakshak Policy, the minimum sum insured would be 50,000 and the maximum limit is set at 2.5 lakh. Its tenure will range from three-and-a-half months to nine-and-a-half months.

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Speaking at the ASSOCHAM’s National E-Summit—Health Insurance Under COVID Attack, T L Alamelu, member (Non-Life) of Irdai earlier said they were looking to issue instructions on how both the policies could be mainstreamed or renewed.

While addressing the CII Insurance and Pensions Summit, Khuntia added, “We are coming out with a standard product, the idea is that a standard product, which is to be sold by all the companies, should be so that it becomes much easier for the policyholder to pick up that product. And they don’t have to go through voluminous policy documents…”

As far as COVID-19 related claims are concerned, 2,38,160 health claims have been filed so far and 1,48,298 cases have been settled involving 1,430 crore, he added.

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Speaking about the insurance industry amid COVID-19, Krishnan Ramachandran, MD & CEO, Max Bupa Health Insurance said, “The health insurance industry is playing the role of catalyst in the socio-economic growth as people have felt deep financial stress in absence of adequate cover for health, amid the prolonged pandemic situation. Today, the situation demands all stakeholders including payers and providers to come together to fulfil the next phase of growth.”

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