Coronavirus insurance: India moves to protect patients as UK companies limit cover

WION Web Team
New Delhi, Delhi, India Updated: Mar 13, 2020, 12:11 AM(IST)

INFOSYS,CORONAVIRUS Photograph:( AFP )

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Aviva said had decided to do away with add-on cover for 'travel disruption' or 'airspace closure' while maintaining that it had paused single-trip direct travel insurance for new customers travelling to Italy due to coronavirus

Several companies in the UK have cut travel insurance due to the coronavirus even as travellers have been seeking cover during their stay away from home.

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The move comes even as India's insurance regulator IRDAI instructed all insurers to include medical cover for COVID-19, the insurance authority's notification says that medical expenses during the quarantine period will also be reimbursable.

In order to prevent high-handedness by insurers, all claims will go through a review committee before they can be rejected. IRDAI has also asked insurers to design policies that cover coronavirus cases in the future.

Patients across India have been troubled by the fact that their policies do not cover the virus with reports of hospitals refusing to recognise claims of policyholders.

However, it is quite a different scenario in the UK with British insurer LV saying: "In light of the significant impact that coronavirus is having globally, LV=... has taken the difficult decision to pause the sale of travel insurance to new customers," while adding that it was "temporary move".

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According to reports, several companies saw a surge in travel insurance including Post Office, CoverForYou and TravelSupermarket as the coronavirus spread last month and people continued to travel. However, as the virus took a dangerous turn with the WHO declaring it a "pandemic", British insurers have begun to relook the cover.

Reports say leading UK insurers including Post Office, InsureandGo & Aviva have withdrawn their cover amid a huge spike in coronavirus cases in the country.

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Aviva said it has decided to do away with add-on cover for “travel disruption” or “airspace closure” while maintaining that it has paused single-trip direct travel insurance for new customers travelling to Italy due to coronavirus.

“Insurance is designed to provide cover for unforeseen and unexpected events and is priced on this basis. The outbreak of the coronavirus means there is an increased likelihood of disruption to people’s travel plans. We envisage that these decisions, affecting only Aviva’s travel insurance new business, will be temporary actions,” the company said in a statement.

"In light of the impact that Coronavirus (COVID-19) is having globally, we’ve made the difficult decision to pause the sale of travel insurance to new customers," LV said on its website, adding, "We considered a number of different options, such as excluding cover or significantly increasing prices for new customers. We strongly believe this temporary measure of pausing the sale of new policies and focusing on our existing customers is the right decision."

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