As published on Businessdailyafrica.com on August 19th 2020
Minet Kenya has paid up to Sh100 million for Covid-19-related claims as at July 31, indicating the toll the pandemic is taking on the finances of the insurance industry.
The insurer said the claims spanned from screening of the virus, with the firm paying for 7,000 tests, to hospitalisation for about 100 Covid-19 patients.
Despite this, health claims have declined as people avoided going to hospitals in fear of contracting the virus and government issued regulations such as deferment of elective surgeries which were later suspended in June.
“For those who succumbed to the virus and held group life policies with us, the claims are being honoured as well. The trend in increase in costs cautions us to monitor keenly with the expectation that the claims experience will be adverse this year,” Minet Kenya CEO Sammy Muthui said.
After the first Covid-19 case was reported in the country in March, the Insurance Regulatory Authority instructed all firms to settle medical and life claims arising from the infections.
However, insurers remain divided on covering the claims after the pronouncement of coronavirus as a pandemic, which is excluded from insurance policies.
Mr Muthui has attributed this to the high costs, especially for ICU-related cases and personal protective equipment, which he said have become unsustainable for some insurers.
“The industry has been on high alert as positive cases are rapidly increasing, a move that will see insurers previously covering this to revise how they do it lest they are faced with overwhelming claims,” he said.
“With extra precautions being put in place to ensure patients accessed services safely, we are now seeing itemised bills being sent to us for approval featuring costs of PPEs used while attending to our clients. This consequently means that the average cost of receiving treatment will be higher than before the pandemic.”
The regulator is yet to release the industry statistics for the second quarter. However, the industry is projecting a reduction in uptake of insurance, contraction of clients due to layoffs, constrained activities and business closures.