Pandey says, “The challenge is to ensure that Nepalis are not deprived of treatment because of cost, however there is a process of validating claims with official proof of infection, hospital bills and other documents. There may be delays, but all genuine policies will be honoured.”
Although applying for a policy can be done online, he said, there was a requirement to have physical proof to claim insurance payments. However, many policy-holders say private companies have been deliberately delaying payments under one pretext or another and claims have started piling up at the insurance pool as the pandemic spreads.
Asked about this, Insurance Board spokesperson Rajuraman Poudel said: “There may be delays, but the insurance companies will pay the claim within a year as per rules.”
Declare a health emergency, Shekhar Kharel
The insurance pool has been given the responsibility by the government to process all claims, and it is being administered by Shikhar Insurance. However, the public’s trust in insurance is being seriously undermined by these excuses – after all only 0.38% of those who insured themselves against Covid-19 are claiming payment.
Negative publicity about Covid-19 insurance has begun to undermine the public’s trust in not just pandemic insurance but cause heavy collateral damage on the overall insurance sector.
The insurance companies have now fully understood the repercussions of the pandemic, and they claim that they took the risk as a public service in April. The industry is ready to face the worst, they say, and even if it takes big losses in Covid-19 payouts, it is well positioned to survive because of back stop from the government, Nepal Reinsurance Company, the Insurance Board and other insurance companies.
The formula has apportioned risk so that the first 10,000 claims will be borne by the insurance companies themselves, the risk for the second 10,000 will be borne by the Nepal Reinsurance Company, an additional 5,000 will be paid out by the disaster contingency fund of insurance companies, and the final next 10,000 will be borne by the Insurance Committee. The government will bear the risk of 35,000 Covi-19 insurers.
Nepal at the edge of the Covid-19 precipice, Anil Chitrakar