Covid payouts close to B60bn at end of March

Covid payouts close to B60bn at end of March

A hospital staff dressed in personal protection equipment administers an antigen test to a teacher to check for the coronavirus in Muang district of Pattani province on March 11, 2022. (Photo: AFP)
A hospital staff dressed in personal protection equipment administers an antigen test to a teacher to check for the coronavirus in Muang district of Pattani province on March 11, 2022. (Photo: AFP)

Total payouts from Covid-19 insurance lump-sum claims rose to almost 60 billion baht at the end of March.

The Thai General Insurance Association (TGIA) expects the total value to reach 100 billion baht at the end of June, which marks the expiration date for all Covid insurance policies with lump-sum payment in the system.

According to data from the Office of the Insurance Commission (OIC), the accumulated value of Covid insurance claims with lump-sum payments jumped from 52 billion baht as of March 15 to nearly 60 billion at the end of the month as the Omicron strain continued to spread after most economic activities resumed.

According to the Public Health Ministry, the average number of daily new infections, including those found through antigen test kits, exceeded 40,000 per day in March.

Arpakorn Panlerd, assistant secretary-general at the OIC, said total premiums received from Covid insurance stood at 11 billion baht as of March 15.

The total number of Covid insurance policyholders is 42 million, he said.

Mr Arpakorn said the accumulated value of claims has been steadily rising from 43.3 billion baht at the beginning of the year to 47.5 billion in February and 52 billion on March 15.

Anon Vangvasu, president of TGIA, expects the number to reach 70 billion to 80 billion baht by the end of April and exceed 100 billion at the end of June.

He said the current liquidity crisis offers a valuable lesson for the insurance industry to prepare for emerging diseases and pandemics.

Mr Anon said 16 insurance companies out of a total of 52 offered Covid insurance with lump-sum payment.

Six to seven of the 16 firms recorded massive policy sales and four of them -- Asia Insurance, The One Insurance, Southeast Insurance and Thai Insurance -- have been forced to shut down because they did not have sufficient premiums and capital reserves to pay out the claims.

He said another company is now receiving a high number of requests for claims, but TGIA expects the company will be able to find a solution through a capital increase or finding new partners.

Mr Anon said the liquidity shortage arose from the OIC's decision to prohibit insurance companies from cancelling policies.

He expects the roughly 100 billion baht in claims distributed to policyholders will help stimulate the economy to some extent.

Syn Mun Kong Insurance (SMK) reported to the Stock Exchange of Thailand its 2021 operating results suffered a loss of 4.75 billion baht, down 728% from the same period last year.

This loss resulted from a spike in Covid insurance claims, which jumped from 11.6 million baht in 2020 to 7.63 billion baht in 2021.

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