MANILA, Philippines—The value of first-quarter claims paid out by insurers and health maintenance organizations (HMOs) to clients infected by COVID-19 or hit by its socioeconomic impact more than doubled to P2.93 billion, the Insurance Commission (IC) said on Wednesday (June 15).
“COVID-19-related claims paid during the first quarter of 2022 exceeded the amount paid during the same period of the previous year by 119.95 percent,” said IC chief Dennis Funa in a statement.
“Also worth mentioning is that the majority of the claims paid by both the life insurance and mutual benefit association (MBA) industries pertain to death benefits, while those by HMOs pertain to out-patient benefits, and those by the non-life insurance industry pertain to business interruption benefits,” Funa said.
Funa said that from the onset of the pandemic in 2020 until end-March of this year, life and non-life insurance companies, MBAs and HMOs disbursed a total of P19.64 billion in pandemic-related claims.
Amid the prolonged pandemic, claims in 2021 jumped to P12.82-billion from P3.89 billion in 2020.
“Despite the large payouts for COVID-19-related claims, the life and non-life insurance, HMO, and MBA industries remain resilient,” Funa said.
Funa noted that the end-March 2022 claims still paled in comparison—or was equivalent to just 2 percent—of the P172.5-billion total benefit payments made by the insurance and HMO sectors last year.
“While it may be arguable that COVID-19-related claims only account for a small portion of benefits paid by our regulated entities, the impact of these benefit payments was undoubtedly felt by our fellow Filipinos especially when they needed these benefits,” the IC chief said.
From January to March this year, Funa said the IC’s latest claims survey of 132 firms out of 149 active industry players reflected infection trends — January claims peaked then declined in February and March when there were fewer COVID-19 infections.
“When the total number of new COVID-19 cases breached the 700,000-mark for the month of January, claims paid for said month amounted to almost P1.2 billion,” Funa said.
“During the month of February, while the number of new cases was approximately 100,000, regulated entities paid close to P1 billion in COVID-19-related claims,” said Funa.
“In the month of March when new cases were reported to be
significantly lower than 100,000, claims paid amounted to approximately P700 million,” Funa added.
The more contagious Omicron strain spread last January after the Christmas holidays, prompting most parts of the country to revert to more stringent movement restrictions.
Broken down per benefit, death claims payouts reached P1.65 billion or 56.43 percent of the first-quarter total, followed by out-patient benefits (P594.8 million), and in-patient claims (P410.7 billion).
In terms of number of claims, the highest was recorded for out-patients, accounting for 171,823 claims out of the total 206,806, which also included other benefits, like emergency care, financial assistance, and medical reimbursement.
COVID payouts nearly halved HMOs’ bottom line in first half of 2021
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Insurers’ COVID-19 claims payouts hit P16.7B — Insurance Commission
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