Posted on Jul 14, 2015 by Travis Jones
The deadly MERS virus has been a concern in Asia over the past month, and there have been many developments worth noting. The country hardest hit by the illness, South Korea, has seen the infection rate starting to subside, but the disease has already taken the life of over 30 people, with a mortality rate of 17.5% of the over 180 people infected. Beyond the confirmed infections, over 2,500 people in the country had been kept quarantined at state facilities or at home.
Despite initially being able to prevent an outbreak, South Korea, as well as other countries in the region, has released details on precautionary measures being implemented to prevent further spread. Additionally, amid fears for the local tourism industry, the South Korea Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism is providing free MERS insurance to visitors as soon as they arrive in country, and providing free sterilizing products at popular tourist destinations, as well as through 2200 certified tourism companies and 5000 tour buses.
Meanwhile, some insurers outside of South Korea have been working to provide special options for those afraid of the MERS threat. In mid-June China Taiping Insurance group announced a special MERS plan for anyone living in China. The year-long policy, which has a premium of only 25 Yuan, includes a 50,000 Yuan payout for anyone who contracts the virus. Although there has only been 1 confirmed case of MERS in China (who has actually recovered from the disease), there has no doubt been demand for such an insurance policy.
With any luck we’ve seen the last of the MERS Emergencies the region will experience.
Failure to Declare
Recent news from insurance company AllClear in the United Kingdom states that 15% of travelers between the ages of 45 and 50 intentionally fail to declare their current medical conditions to insurance companies, and 1 in 10 fail to declare pre-existing conditions if they were diagnosed some time ago.
A spokesperson for AllClear stated that, “Some have conditions that they consider so minor or that they have lived with for so long that they don’t think it will be a problem.”
When asked about what the consequences of this type of failure to disclose correct information to insurers might be, Pacific Prime Business Development Manager, Christian Moore commented that “Insurers usually will not pursue a fraud conviction unless it is blatant. Usually they will deny the claim and cancel the policy.”
This shows that, while there is potential for serious legal action, what’s more likely is that people would be left without insurance when they need it most.
Needless to say, it’s better to be honest and safe than uninsured and sorry.
China Leads Emerging Market Growth
An article from eDaily states that among the countries in Emerging Asia, which excludes Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan, China is leading the way among growth in both the life and non-life insurance sectors.
Lower surrenders, bancassurance recovery, and new distribution channels such as internet sales were cited as reasons for the 13% growth in the life sector and the 17% growth in the non-life sector that China saw last year.
To further the notion of Chinese insurance industry growth, a separate article from eDaily reported on expansion made by mainland Chinese insurers into the European market. The piece highlighted Chinese insurer’s desire for wider asset and risk diversification, as well as strong evidence of greater investment in European insurers by Chinese investors in general.
While the original article pointed to a murkier outlook for life insurance in Emerging Asia in the near future, it comments that 2015 should continue to be a strong year for the non-life sector in the region, as favourable governmental policies, pro-growth structural reforms, and stable political environments are likely to drive strong performance in most countries.
In world rankings China ranked 4th overall in growth in 2014, and had a 6.87% share of the world insurance market. Other expatriate destinations in emerging Asia such as Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines were also in the top 50.
No doubt Asia is a great place to be in the business of insurance right now.
That’s it for this edition of the Prime Times. We’ll be back next month with another dose of health and insurance news. Until then, for all your international health insurance needs, be sure to check out PacificPrime.com!