Many insurance companies have announced the suspension of sudden illness clause in their travel insurance policies, which means policy holders will not be able to apply for compensation if they are infected with COVID while traveling abroad.
With borders reopening around the world, many people are making travel plans. Insurance firms, meanwhile, are being deluged with compensation claims. Cathay Century Insurance has announced it is no longer selling travel medical insurance for sudden illnesses, with Chung Kuo Insurance, Union Insurance and Tokio Marine Newa Insurance all following suit.
Lu Yi-ching, Insurance Agent: “They're probably sick of explaining the difference between sudden illnesses and a COVID-19 diagnosis to customers, so they've decided to stop selling this type of insurance altogether. People can buy (travel insurance) for a few hundred NT dollars for a NT$20 million policy. If they really get hit with a sudden illness, the payout may be NT$1-2 million.”
Huang Chun-ting, Insurance Agent: “People (come back to Taiwan) and submit a medical receipt to the National Health Insurance Administration for compensation. They can then apply for the difference from their business insurance company.”
One insurance agent says it's hard to say whether a COVID-19 diagnosis counts as a sudden illness and insurance companies are choosing to suspend such policies to avoid disputes. However, accident and other forms of insurance are still available. The Travel Quality Assurance Association says this will make people think twice about traveling overseas.
Lee Chi-yu, Spokesperson, Travel Quality Assurance Association: “Travelers will incur a great deal more risk when they travel overseas in the future. This may require some coordination down the line.”
In May, the Tourism Bureau asked insurance companies to start selling "epidemic prevention travel insurance" for people that test positive for COVID-19 overseas. In response, the Non-life Insurance Association said this is not feasible as control risk cannot be properly assessed.