In Russia, risks related to the novel COVID-19 disease have already been covered by voluntary health insurance policies, both the existing and new ones developed specially during the pandemic.
In particular, the coverage of the COVID-19 disease has been included in several existing insurance programs, Alexander Tsyganov, professor, head of the Department of Insurance and Social Economics at the Financial University under the Russian Government, told Invest Foresight.
The expert said that, for instance, domestic and foreign travel insurance policies now include the treatment of novel diseases, including COVID-19 in most cases. For instance, Alfa Strakhovanie spoke about insurance coverage for an infected client on a trip to Israel.
“Such policies are often go together with premium plastic cards, and if they don’t have exceptions for pandemics, the coverage will be provided to bank clients who are far from their homes when the quarantine is declared,” Tsyganov said.
The epidemics also prompts companies to create new insurance products or amend the existing ones. For instance, Sberbank Strakhovanie offers the Sberegi Sebya (Take Care of Yourself) program which includes insurance payments in case the customer is admitted in a hospital with COVID-19 or other medical condition. They also offer telemedicine services and, most importantly, lab tests, including coronavirus diagnostics.
The Yugoria insurance company has launched the packaged product Yu-Protection: Online Healthcare, aimed at providing financial support to customers diagnosed with COVID-19.
“In fact, it is a classic hospital cash insurance program that includes coronavirus treatment,” Tsyganov said. “In Russia, such products have been offered since the late 1990s-early 2000s, when there were many offers regarding tick-borne encephalitis. The insurance policy included a mandatory vaccine and the payment was made if there was the need to treat the infection.”
The expert added that insurance policies covering lab tests, treatment and hospitalization can also include the coverage of lost incomes at a higher level than the minimal required standards for the period of temporary incapacity.