BENGALURU: With the number of coronavirus (Covid-19) patients in India rising exponentially, several health, insurance and banking institutions are offering special policies that provide free medical cover to those who have been tested positive.
While the sector regulator Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has mandated the insurance companies to cover hospitalisation and quarantine for the Covid-19 patients, a majority of these policies entail that the diseases declared as pandemic by the World Health Organisation would be excluded, which leaves the customers in the lurch.
Under the IRDAI’s sandbox initiative, many companies have either redesigned their health policies or introduced separate Covid-19 cover packages. Bajaj Allianz Life, for instance, introduced a first-of-its-kind Artificial Intelligence-enabled chatbot and live chat-integrated WhatsApp service for its customers who want to buy or stay updated about the policies from the service provider. Customers can simply message ‘Hi’ from their WhatsApp number to 8806727272 and avail more than 20 services on their policy.
ICICI Lombard, a non-life insurance company, announced a special package for its customers who test positive for Covid-19 at any government health facility. The company will pay 100 per cent of the sum insured irrespective of the hospitalisation expenses. The health cover is priced at a premium of RS 149 and provides a sum insured of Rs 25,000, including services such as health assistance, chat or virtual assistance, tele-consultation and ambulance assistance, as part of the offerings.
“Our Covid-19 protection policy will provide financial support to the coronavirus-infected cases. We will pay 100 per cent of the opted sum insured as a lump sum in the event of first diagnosis itself. With the additional benefits such as chat assistance and ambulance assistance, the cover will prove to be an important aid in such challenging times,” said Sanjay Datta, chief (underwriting, claims and reinsurance), ICICI Lombard. Clinikk Healthcare, a health tech firm, said that it is offering a Covid-19 protection cover of up to Rs 1 lakh, including free online medical consultations to all those who buy its package of Rs 499.
The company said that it will also tie up with various corporate and businesses for special employee packages that cover Covid-19 cases. Start Health Insurance, a standalone health insurer, also announced its coronavirus policy available under two sum insured options: Rs 21,000 at premium of Rs459 plus GST and Rs 42,000 at premium of `918 plus GST. Anyone up to the age of 65 years can purchase the policy online at www.starhealth.in or through the company’s vast network of insurance agents, and without having to undergo any pre-medical screening.