Insurance firms to cover coronavirus-related cases

Kathmandu, April 12

Life insurance policy holders who are infected by the coronavirus or die due to its infection will receive the entire insurance compensation amount from their respective insurance companies.

Raju Raman Paudel, executive director of Insurance Board of Nepal, informed that if any life insurance policyholder passes away due to the coronavirus then their nominee will receive the sum assured as death benefit. However, the policyholder must have bought the policy before the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the coronavirus as a global pandemic.

The WHO had declared the COVID-19 or coronavirus as a pandemic on January 30. The virus has so far spread to all corners of the world, infecting more than 1.79 million people and killing close to 110,000 people.

In Nepal 12 people have tested positive for the coronavirus but there have been no deaths reported due to the virus till date, according to the Ministry of Health and Population.

“As per the life insurance law and policy, any person who is infected by the coronavirus is eligible to receive the insurance amount specified in the policy,” said Paudel, adding that if any policyholder is infected by any disease then the life insurance companies are liable to pay medicine expenses too.

However, the global practice is that if WHO declares a health emergency, then the insurance companies are not liable to pay the compensation amount, informed Paudel, adding that the Insurance Board has started discussions to find a way to tackle such a situation after the COV- ID-19 pandemic.

“It is reasonable to assume that a global health crisis like the coronavirus would have some impact on the life insurance policy acceptance and premiums.

So, we are holding discussions to make possible changes in the policy,” Paudel informed.

Manoj Kumar Bhattarai, chief executive officer of Prime Life Insurance, said they will pay the compensation amount to any policyholder who is infected by the coronavirus under the heading of medical expenses.

“We will also pay the amount liable in case of a death due to the pandemic,” he stated, adding, “As per law we are liable to pay all the expenses whether it is for treatment or in case of a death due to the coronavirus like how we pay a policyholder for other diseases.”

Bhattarai further said that if anyone has bought a foreign employment term-life insurance and passes away due to the coronavirus then their nominee will get Rs one million and other travel and medicine expenses.

Bhattarai also clarified that if the deceased person had a life insurance policy, then the nominee or the beneficiary nominee must be aware that death caused by any health-related issues is generally covered under a life insurance policy including term insurance.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on April 13, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.