Health

Insurers saving billions as Coronavirus claims tumble

Covid vaccination

Coronavirus insurance claims have dropped nearly 90 per cent in the first quarter of 2022. PHOTO | AFP

Coronavirus insurance claims have dropped nearly 90 per cent in the first quarter of 2022 compared to the last quarter of last year.

Data from the Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA) shows policyholders sought payments of Sh480.9 million in the three months to March down from Sh4.1 billion in the quarter to December 2021 underlining the sharp decline in Covid-19 infections and hospital admissions.

The data shows insurance companies were paying Sh1.3 billion on average each month at the end of last year compared to Sh160 million a month this year.

Most of the claims resulted from life insurance policies and general medical claims after the insurance regulator compelled insurance companies to cover the pandemic including the Covid-19 vaccine jab in their policies.

IRA chief executive Godfrey Kiptum called on industry players to take cognisant of the fact that the world is changing, especially in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Structuring and designing insurance products that address the modern-day insurance needs, as well as growing investments in the continent, will be key focus areas for Kenya,” Mr Kiptum said at the 48th annual Africa Insurance Organisation.

The Covid-19 pandemic has shaped client behaviour and business performance even as the country adjusts with increased vaccination to combat the scourge.

At the height of the pandemic, the government imposed restrictions on movement including curbs into Nairobi city, which saw a decline in patient numbers. When the curbs were lifted last year, Kenyans returned to hospitals pushing up incurred medical for the nine months to September from Sh14.7 billion to Sh15.1 billion.

Even with higher medical claims insurance companies have also been able to grow health insurance premiums by 12.7 per cent to Sh40.8 billion from Sh36.2 billion as more Kenyans sought medical cover given the Covid-19 health crisis.

Kenya has vaccinated 2.4million people partially against Covid-19 with 8.7 million of them having received full doses.

Coronavirus cases hit 336,798 Kenyans with 329,901 recoveries and 5,668 deaths as delays hit the rollout of the World Health Organisation-backed Covax immunisation programme for developing nations.

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