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More Singapore insurers enhancing coverage with free Covid-19 protection

FINANCIAL institutions in Singapore are beefing up efforts to support customers in the area of free insurance coverage amid the Covid-19 situation. This includes diagnosis benefits, hospitalisation coverage and death benefits.

DBS on Monday announced its partnership with Chubb Insurance Singapore to offer its five million Singapore customers complimentary insurance coverage relating to Covid-19.

The policy - called the Covid-19 hospital cash policy - is a 30-day free cover providing a daily cash benefit for hospital confinement, along with a lump sum payout for intensive care unit (ICU) confinement.

It also provides worldwide coverage for policyholders who need to travel during this period, excluding China and US-sanctioned countries.

Those diagnosed with Covid-19 while being covered by the policy will get S$100 per day of hospitalisation for up to 14 days. They will also get a lump sum of S$1,000 upon admission into the ICU.

The policy will launch on Feb 24 and will be available for online sign-ups until March 15.

After the 30 days of free coverage, applicants may choose to purchase additional coverage called the recovery hospital cash policy. This policy provides daily cash payouts for Covid-19-related hospitalisation stays, and other sicknesses and accidental injuries.

DBS and Chubb are in discussions to introduce similar coverage policies for customers in other regional markets the bank is operating in, the lender said.

In a separate announcement, Manulife Singapore on Monday said it has committed S$1 million via a Covid-19 support fund to provide additional protection coverage to all of its policyholders in the Republic at no added cost.

The insurer has also committed S$100,000 to The Courage Fund, which is administered by the National Council of Social Service and Community Chest.

Manulife's additional coverage is effective from Monday until June 1 and includes diagnosis benefits and additional death benefit.

Customers diagnosed with Covid-19 in Singapore will receive a one-time immediate S$1,500 cash benefit. If the customer is hospitalised for five days or more, an additional S$2,000 cash benefit would be payable.

If a death occurs as a result of the Covid-19 diagnosis, an additional lump sum of S$30,000 would be paid out on top of the death benefit from the customer's existing policy.

Separately, AIA on Monday said it would provide free additional coverage to 1.4 million existing eligible customers, employees and tied representatives. New customers whose policies were issued between Feb 17 and July 31 will also be eligible.

Eligible customers include those who are life-insured and policyholders who are Singapore residents with existing individual life or accident and health insurance policy which is also in-force on or before July 31.

The additional coverage will be effective until Dec 31, or 30 days after the Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (Dorscon) level has officially stepped down to green - whichever is earlier.

AIA is providing a hospitalisation income benefit of S$1,000 in a lump-sum payment, and a death benefit of S$25,000 should a death result from the Covid-19.

Meanwhile, NTUC Income has rolled out additional Covid-19 coverage at no additional premium for customers with its personal accident (PA) plans with infectious disease cover. The benefits will be rolled out to two Income PA plans - PA Assurance with Infectious Disease cover and the Personal Accident Infectious Disease policy.

The benefits will be effective for six months, starting Monday until Aug 31. They include a cash payout of S$100 per day of hospitalisation in Singapore due to the virus, for up to 30 days. There will also be a one-time payout of S$10,000 if the insured person dies due to the virus, in addition to other benefits in the insured person's PA plan.

Income's initiative also covers staff of organisations insured by Income's group employee benefits policies. These employees will be offered a cash pay-out of S$100 per day of hospitalisation in Singapore due to the virus, for up to 30 days. It would pay out S$20,000 in the event of death due to the virus.

Employers will not be charged extra premium for these benefits from Monday till May 31, and the coverage can be renewed for three months at a low premium, Income said.

Income has also extended the Covid-19 benefits to its Income Family Micro-Insurance Scheme (IFMIS), which offers insurance protection to parents or guardians of primary school children under the Ministry of Education's financial assistance scheme.

IFMIS also covers families with children enrolled in pre-school My First Skool with a gross household income not exceeding S$4,500 a month, or a monthly per capita income not more than S$1,125.

On Feb 11, HSBC Life Singapore said it would extend additional novel coronavirus benefits to its life insurance customers and their immediate family members in Singapore.

The complimentary benefits started from Feb 7, with coverage guaranteed for one year. New customers who purchase life insurance policies from Feb 7 to April 30 will also be covered for the same length of time, starting from the issuance date.

The benefits include a hospital cash benefit of S$200 per day for up to 45 days, paid upon diagnosis of Covid-19, as well as a diagnosis benefit of S$1,000 in a lump sum if a customer or the customer's family member is diagnosed with the virus by a registered medical practitioner.

The insurer would also provide a death benefit of S$10,000 in a lump sum should a customer or family member die from the virus in Singapore.

Gojek, together with its insurance partners Gigacover and Etiqa Insurance, is also providing earnings protection coverage for private-hire drivers who are issued a quarantine order. These drivers would have prolonged medical leave insurance coverage of up to S$1,000 if quarantined for 14 days or longer.

Drivers on Gojek’s vehicle rental programme will also have their vehicle rental waived if they are served a quarantine order. A one-off S$100 allowance will also be given for additional support. 

Great Eastern on Friday said it would implement a S$1 million support package to help customers affected by the Covid-19 outbreak. It also said it would contribute S$200,000 to The Courage Fund.

The move comes as other companies in Singapore announce initiatives to help businesses and individuals tide over the period of uncertainty. CapitaLand said on Thursday that its philanthropic arm has pledged S$300,000 to The Courage Fund.

Meanwhile, Singapore banks have also stepped in with some relief measures. These include loan restructurings, principal moratorium and extensions of tenors for loans and trade finance bills.

DBS shares ended at S$25.48 on Monday, down S$0.07 or 0.3 per cent before the announcement on the Chubb partnership.