COVID-19 brings more business to insurers

March 21, 2020 - 08:30

The COVID-19 pandemic has so far hurt many businesses in the country, except the insurance industry.

People wait in front of the social insurance agency in Ba Đình District to register for a voluntary health card. The number of people who buy insurance increases as the pandemic of COVID-19 spreads — Photo Minh Hương

By Minh Hương

HÀ NỘI — The COVID-19 pandemic has so far hurt many businesses in the country, except the insurance industry.

On Friday Việt Nam confirmed 91 positive cases of coronavirus infection and isolated about 42,000 people for health monitoring since March 20. A month before that local insurers have started to provide services insurance related to coronavirus.

Speaking with Việt Nam News, Nguyễn Minh Ngọc, an employee from Manulife Insurance Firm said: "Normally, I have most deals signed at the end of the year. This time, I have signed more and more deals in the first quarter due to COVID-19.”

The pandemic had increased demand for insurance products, said Ngọc.

Initial data showed the outbreak had increased local demand for insurance by around 40 per cent.

Coronavirus packages 

A week before the 17th positive case was announced on March 6, insurance firm FWD had introduced a package called "FWD Coronavirus Insurance and hospital assistance".

According to the insurance firm, the coronavirus insurance doesn’t cover for cancer, heart attacks, diabetes, hepatitis, stomach ulcers, hypertension, arthritis, and mental illness, but it does pay out for those testing positive for COVID-19, with a total amount of VNĐ20 million or a maximum compensation of VNĐ100 million to VNĐ300 million in case of death caused by the virus.

As a local insurer, PVI also announced two packages related to the virus at a cost of VNĐ195,000 and VNĐ330,000 per year, respectively. LIAN, from Viễn Đông Insurance Joint Stock Company (VASS), also offers its customers a similar package at VNĐ200,000.

Joining the coronavirus-shields, there were non-life insurers like Saigon- Hanoi Insurance Corporation (BSH), Military Insurance Corporation (MIC), VietinBank (VBI) as well as life insurers of Manulife Vietnam Insurance, Prudential and Chubb Life 

Unlike other insurance products, Corona Shield by VietinBank Insurance (VBI) has a term of only three months. However, the participation fee is also cheaper with three packages worth VNĐ33,000, VNĐ66,000 and VNĐ99,000, respectively.

The customer or beneficiary will receive the sum insured in case of a COVID-19 positive result or death. The level of treatment allowances in hospitals may be up to VNĐ3 million and the payment for deaths due to epidemics may be up to VNĐ150 million.

In addition, customers who buy Corona Shield at risk of death from traffic accidents are also covered by the company.

Đỗ Duy Long, from Thanh Xuân District, Hà Nội said: “I just bought a Lian insurance product for each member of my family.” 

“Paying VNĐ200,000 for protection in such a case is reasonable and economical,” Long said mentioning the quick spread of the pandemic in China, Italy and South Korea and other places in the world.

Ngọc, the Manulife insurance employee, told Việt Nam News: “It normally takes a lot of time to advise customers to buy products. Sometimes, it takes a year. But in the case of the virus, most of the customers decide very quickly. They do not only buy for themselves and their family but also suggest others to buy them.”

According to Sài Gòn Securities Inc, the pandemic could cause compensation costs to rise moderately because most medical expenses will be covered by social insurance. "The actual compensation payment may occur 1-2 months after the incident, so this impact will not show much in this quarter," SSI said. 

Data from the General Statistics Office, the insurance premium revenue of the whole market increased by 20.3 per cent higher than 2018 of which life insurance premiums increased by 25.1 per cent and non-life insurance increased by 11.6 per cent.— VNS