COVID-19 insurance payouts P4.35B in H1, exceeding 2020

THE INSURANCE industry made payouts related to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) worth P4.35 billion in the first half, exceeding the total for 2020, according to a survey conducted by the Insurance Commission (IC).

Insurance Commissioner Dennis B. Funa said in a statement Tuesday that the payouts by life and nonlife insurers, health maintenance organizations (HMOs) and mutual benefit associations (MBAs) were 12% above the 2020 total of P3.9 billion.

Overall coronavirus payouts as of the end of June are now at P8.25 billion, dating back to the start of the pandemic last year.

Mr. Funa said the rise in COVID-19 related payouts coincided with surges in infection rates during the half.

“The figures provided show that the claims paid increased drastically from February to April and dipped slightly in June,” he said.

“This reflects the reported spike of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines between March and May which prompted the government to impose stricter quarantine measures during those months,” he added.

HMOs accounted for 47% of the overall COVID-19-related payouts, or P2.06 billion, in the first half, up 7.9% from the 2020 total. This brought total releases by HMOs to P3.89 billion as of June.

Life insurers paid out P1.98 billion or 46% of the industry’s total. The first-half payouts exceeded the 2020 total by 36%. The industry has released P3.44 billion since the pandemic began.

Mr. Funa said nonlife insurers released P119 million in COVID-19 related payouts in the first half, equivalent to 74% of the total released in the preceding full year.

MBAs released P191.7 million during the half, equivalent to 54% of the industry’s 2020 tally.

Some P1.67 billion or 38% consisted of death benefits in the first half, followed by P1.47 billion in in-patient benefits, and P876.6 million in out-patient payouts.

“Also worth mentioning is the fact that non-life insurance companies paid P37.60 million in Business Interruption claims due to the effects of business closures and the imposition of quarantine measures as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

The IC surveyed 117 out of 147 life and nonlife insurers, HMOs and MBAs to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the industry.

“Despite the challenges and risks posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the substantial increase in COVID-19-related claims, life and nonlife insurers, HMOs and MBAs remain financially resilient,” Mr. Funa said.

Gross premiums collected by life and non-life insurance firms and MBAs rose 27.82% from a year earlier to P99.89 billion in the first quarter. — Beatrice M. Laforga