TOTAL Covid-19-related claims paid by insurers, health maintenance organizations (HMOs)  and mutual benefit associations (MBAs) since the start of the pandemic until June this year has reached P8.25 billion, the Insurance Commission said.

Citing the results of the survey conducted by the regulator, Insurance Commissioner Dennis Funa said on Tuesday that 53 percent of the total Covid-19 related claims or P4.35 billion was paid during the first half of this year.

Death Benefits took the biggest chunk of the total claims paid since the pandemic started at P2.89 billion or 35 percent. This is followed by In-Patient Benefits at P2.65 billion (32 percent) and Out-Patient Benefits at P1.81 billion (22 percent). These three benefits accounted for 89 percent of the total Covid-related claims paid during the period.

“In both 2020 and the first semester of 2021, claims for Death Benefits had the highest amount of Covid-19-related claims paid by insurers, HMOs, and MBAs, followed by In-Patient Benefits and Out-Patient Benefits. 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,” Funa said in a statement.

In terms of Covid-19-related claims paid per industry from 2020 until the end of the first semester  this year, HMOs led the pack for paying a total of P3.98 billion.

Next to the HMO industry is the life insurance industry, with claims paid amounting to P3.44 billion. Meanwhile, Covid-19 claims paid by MBAs in the same period reached P546.6 million while non-life insurers spent P279.3 million.

For the first half of the year, the Insurance Commission also observed a correlation between the total Covid-19-related claims paid by the regulated entities with the reported number of new infections in the Philippines during the period.

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

Of the total P4.35-billion Covid-19-related claims paid for the first six months of this year, more than a third or 38 percent were death benefits amounting to P1.67 billion.

Next to death benefits are In-Patient Benefits, comprising 33 percent of the total or P1.47 billion. This is followed by Out-Patient claims which accounted for 20 percent of the total or P876.6 million.

In terms of the number of claims, Out-Patient Benefits topped the list as it cornered 74 percent of the total 238,551 claims. Claims for Other Benefits and In-Patient Benefits comprised 13.9 percent and 6.9 percent, respectively.

For the first six months of the year, HMO industry had the biggest share in Covid-19 related claims payouts at P2.06 billion or 47 percent of the total. Trailing the HMO industry is the life insurance industry, which paid P1.98 billion or 46 percent. MBAs spent P191.7 million (4 percent) while non-life insurers paid P119.1 million (3 percent).

Despite the challenges and risks posed by the pandemic and the substantial increase in Covid-related claims, Funa said the regulated entities remain “financially resilient.”

Citing unaudited quarterly statistics, Funa said the insurance sector posted double-digit growth figures in the first quarter of this year compared with the same period last year.

“Based on unaudited quarterly statistics, we noted that as of the first [1st] quarter of 2021, the insurance sector posted P1.89 trillion in assets, with a year-on-year growth of 15 percent. Even premiums earned grew by 27.81 percent year-on-year from P78 billion to almost P100 billion,” he said.

“Meanwhile, the HMO industry’s total assets also exhibited an upward trend year-on-year from P50.51 billion to P66.56 billion, which translates to a 31.78-percent growth. Such performance proves our regulated industries’ capability not only to withstand, but even to expand, in the face of unprecedented crisis,” Funa added.

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