Insurers team up for PM2.5 illness policy

Insurers team up for PM2.5 illness policy

Millions report air pollution ailments

The Bangkok skyline is obscured by PM2.5 haze on Jan 9, 2024. Air pollution has worsened in Thailand the past few years.  Nutthawat Wichieanbut
The Bangkok skyline is obscured by PM2.5 haze on Jan 9, 2024. Air pollution has worsened in Thailand the past few years.  Nutthawat Wichieanbut

As PM2.5 air pollution becomes a growing health concern in Thailand, with the level of hazardous dust expected to intensify as the hot season approaches, people are seeking practical options, leading to the emergence of insurance policies that cover respiratory diseases caused by fine particulate matter.

TQM Insurance Brokers recently joined with Bangkok Insurance (BKI) to launch a new type of health insurance policy for respiratory diseases related to PM2.5 dust.

If an insured patient is sick and admitted as an inpatient for a period of more than five days, the policy provides a consolation payment of 100,000 baht.

A policyholder would also receive daily compensation for up to 30 days as an inpatient.

For outpatients, policyholders have medical expenses covered, with sickness coverage for acute respiratory infections (excluding Covid), cardiovascular disease, emphysema, conjunctivitis and lung cancer (for a first-time infection).

The new type of insurance policy targets Thais aged 6-65. Pre-existing diseases and conditions are not be covered.

Insured people must be in good physical health on the application date.

Only one policy per person can be issued.

PM2.5 levels in Thailand have worsened. According to the IQAir website, which documents air quality around the world, the Air Quality Index (AQI) in northern Thailand, including Chiang Mai, was 159 (red level) on Feb 28.

An AQI of 151-200 is described as having an impact on health and possibly causing respiratory diseases.

Public Health Ministry data revealed more than 9.2 million Thais reported air pollution-related illnesses last year.

"The PM2.5 level in Thailand may cause various serious diseases, and people are worried about how to take care of their health and avoid inhaling this dust," said BKI chief executive Abhisit Anantanaratana.

"They are also concerned about bearing possible medical expenses, which is why we teamed up with TQM Insurance Brokers to develop a new policy that offers coverage to people facing a high risk of exposure to PM2.5 dust."

In related news, Bangkok Life Assurance (BLA) launched "Bangkok Smart Kids", a new savings insurance product to support children's education.

Parents pay a fixed premium starting from 200 baht per month for insurance coverage for life, accidents, and four serious children's diseases: rheumatic fever, which can cause heart abnormalities; Kawasaki disease, which causes heart complications; diabetes; and cerebrospinal fluid disease, which occurs when the clear fluid that supports the brain and spinal cord escapes into other parts of the body.

Children can be insured from birth until age 14.

There are three types of policies to choose from, providing cover lasting 15, 18 or 21 years.

"We expect this type of insurance will appeal to families amid the economic slowdown as living costs rise, with high tuition fees from kindergarten to university," said BLA president and chief executive Chone Sophonpanich.

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