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Insurance and Pandemics, What you need to know.


How do insurance companies handle pandemics such as COVID -19 and how is it
classified?

Rahab Kamau, Manager of Underwriting and Claims at Enwealth Financial Services shares her insights from her ten years in the insurance industry.

Q1. As an expert in insurance services, what category in insurance cover does COVID-19 fall under?


Under insurance Covid-19 would be classified as a pandemic. Generally, under any insurance policy, pandemic is listed as an exclusion and has sub-limited coverage. As an insurance policy holder, it is prudent to check with your Insurance Broker and counsel to understand what coverage you have for any pandemic.
Q2. On what levels would COVID-19 lead one to seek insurance services? (Health insurance, Business Insurance, Travel insurance, Household…etc)


Under health Insurance, the insured can seek for medical treatment with the use of their medical cover. However, confirm with the Insurer or broker if the policy in place covers the pandemic as stated earlier.
The travel insurance will seek to reimburse the insured for the cancellation of trips when the government restricts its citizen from travelling to other countries as well as when airlines are restricted from travels.
Work Injury Benefits Act (WIBA) Insurance policy covers your employees who suffer injury or illness contracted in the workplace. This extends coverage to injuries “arising out of or in the course of employment,” meaning that claims for compensation must allege work-related losses. Coverage, based on “work-relatedness,” is analysed based on the time and place where the loss occurs, the specific activity the claimant was engaged in when the loss took place, and the specific nature of the loss. Thus, there would be a good argument for coverage of a health care worker who becomes infected because of exposure to patients on the job. In assisting employees with WIBA claims, it will be critical to make a prompt, careful record of the time, place, and circumstances of the exposure.
Some organizations may encounter employment-related claims related to injuries that are not covered by WIBA policy. For example, claims may be brought by family members of an employee who claims he brought home an infection from the workplace. Employers Liability insurance may provide coverage in such instances.

Q3. Are there insurance solutions available to cover an individual during a
pandemic and how affordable are they?

There are no specific Insurance covers for pandemics as they are mostly treated as exclusions in Insurance policies. However, recently the regulator (IRA) in consultation with the insurance companies confirmed that they would extend to cover claims arising from Covid-19. Payout will also be extended as a result of death and last expense.

Q4. How can one prepare financially for such an epidemic in the future?


One can prepare for such epidemics in the following ways;
a) Build an emergency fund
An emergency fund will help to cover unexpected medical costs that could arise from being ill (visits to the doctor, medical tests, medications, loss of income from taking time off work, etc.)
b) Have some cash on hand
Regardless of the nature of the emergency, it’s always a good idea to keep some cash handy in a safe, secure place, just in case.

c) Review health insurance coverage

This is an ideal time to review health insurance coverage. Knowing what is covered and what is not covered is important in planning for unexpected medical expenses.

d)Review company policy regarding sick leave

Employees should do a quick status check on how many paid sick days their company provides, and how many they have used in the year. 

e) Make the most of digital banking services

This step is one of the most important, and easiest, to accomplish when it comes to financial preparedness during a pandemic. Customers with online and mobile accounts are able to complete a wide variety of transactions from the convenience of their homes, including checking of statements and account balances 24/7, paying bills electronically. Depositing fund through a mobile app simply by taking a photo of the check with a smartphone and transferring money into household accounts for easier payment of bills and expenses.

That notwithstanding, make a list of important financial contacts. It’s important to be able to access financial accounts and institutions, especially during a difficult situation. But overall try to stay of debt as much as possible and cut down your expenses in this season.

Insurance Industry
Develop a Product to cover Pandemic
This would be a good time for the insurance companies to come up with a product that cover pandemic or have it as an extension for instance before terrorism activities started happening it was treated as an exclusion but today you will find in most insurance companies they are extending to cover it or better still offer it as a product on its own.

Kang'ethe Njoroge

Kang'ethe Njoroge is the Managing Editor of Money Series Africa. He is a seasoned communication strategist, with over five year experience in New Media and digital marketing. He is also the Co - Founder of Founders Breakfast Kenya and is currently a Business Development Director of TheCure Marketing Agency.

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