The insurance and takaful industry is currently working with the Ministry of Health and Bank Negara Malaysia to explore avenues where insurers and takaful operators can ease some of the expenses of COVID-19 patients whose conditions are required to be treated in private hospitals.
In a joint statement, the Life Insurance Association of Malaysia, General Insurance Association of Malaysia and Malaysian Takaful Association say that the industry is fully supportive of the government’s call for a private-public partnership to manage the increasing cases of COVID-19 patients.
The associations say that because COVID-19 is a pandemic, it is not insured/covered under medical and health insurance or takaful benefits. “The exclusion stems from the difficulty in pricing for coverage relating to an event like a pandemic that may occur once in a lifetime, having an incalculable impact and cost.”
Nevertheless, in response to the nation’s immediate need in the early stage of the pandemic in 2020, the majority of life insurers and takaful operators provided supplementary benefits such as daily hospital income to be paid to the affected policyholders/certificate holders, the statement says.
The associations also say that the industry had swiftly galvanised to put in place various relief measures to help policyholders cope with the financial impact of the pandemic.
This included the deferment of policy premiums and takaful contributions that have benefitted over 1m policyholders and certificate holders with premiums and contributions valued at over MYR1.6bn ($396m).
An MYR8m COVID-19 Testing Fund was also set up in March 2020 to enable medical and health insurance policyholders to undergo tests for the coronavirus.
The government has said it might utilise the private healthcare system for treating COVID-19 patients because a surge in the number of cases has stretched government healthcare facilities.