TOTAL PAYOUTS made by insurance providers for claims related to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic reached P1.18 billion in the second quarter, the Insurance Commission (IC) reported on Thursday.

Results of a survey by the IC for the April-to-June period showed life insurers made COVID-19-related payouts worth P877.3 million, which made up 74% of the total.

Meanwhile, health maintenance organizations (HMOs) disbursed P258.4 million (22% of the total), nonlife insurers paid out P32.6 million (3%), and mutual benefit associations or MBAs shelled out P14.9 million (1%).

The IC survey had a 91.95% participation rate, with 137 out of 149 insurers joining.

Out of the survey respondents, 30 out of 31 life insurers and 20 of 49 nonlife firms said they received claims related to the COVID-19 pandemic in the second quarter.

Meanwhile, 20 of 31 MBAs and 21 of 26 HMOs reported having received COVID-19-related claims from April to June.

Majority or 71.15% or P842 million of the P1.18 billion COVID-19-related claims paid out in the second quarter were death benefits. Other benefit payouts were outpatient claims amounting to P141 million (11.89% of the total) and inpatient claims totaling P139 million (11.74%).

In terms of the number of claims, outpatient benefits stood at 32,963 out of the 42,767 total. This was followed by other benefits (emergency, financial assistance, etc.) at 2,949 claims and death benefits at 2,917.

Year-on-year, the number of COVID-19 related claims paid in the second quarter declined by 52%. However, death claims paid increased by 8%, while hospitalization benefits surged by 332.54%.

The IC added that there was a correlation between new COVID-19 cases and related payout claims in the first half of the year.

“The figures reveal that 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 approximately P1.2 billion. During the months of February to May, the amount of COVID-19-related claims steadily decreased as new cases decreased,” it said.

“However, COVID-19-related claims paid slightly increased between the months of May and June, notwithstanding the generally downward trend,” it added.

Since the start of the pandemic, the IC said that total COVID-19 related claims paid out by insurers reached P20.82 billion at end-June, with P12.82 billion or 61% being disbursed last year.

The bulk was paid out by life insurers at P11.72 billion (56%), while HMOs followed with P7.65 billion (36%). The rest was for MBAs at P896.80 million (5%) and nonlife insurers at P560 million (3%).

Broken down, for the first half of 2022, the life insurance sector made COVID-19-related payouts worth P2.66 billion. This was followed by the HMO industry with P1.21 billion, nonlife insurers with P178 million, and MBAs with P64 million.

Meanwhile, for 2021, the life insurance sector made P7.59 billion in COVID-19-related payouts, followed by the HMO industry with P4.53 billion, MBAs with P478 million, and nonlife firms with P222 million.

For 2020, HMOs led in COVID-19-related payouts at P1.91 billion, followed by life insurers with P1.47 billion. MBAs and non-life insurers paid out P355 million and P160 million, respectively.

“While COVID-19 claims paid by our regulated entities amounting to P20.82 billion as of Q2 2022 remain substantial, this has minimal impact to said industries’ growth. The P4.11 billion paid by the life and nonlife insurance sectors in Q2 2022 constitutes a mere 6.76% of the P60.78 billion total benefit payments that they made during the same period,” IC Commissioner Dennis B. Funa was quoted as saying.

“Despite these payouts, the insurance industry remains stable as growth parameters showed positive performance year on year. Insurance industry assets are now more than P2 trillion, as it increased by 12.21% between Q1 2021 and Q1 2022, while the industry’s net worth also grew by 24.27% to P393 billion during the same period,” he added.

Mr. Funa said the total paid-up capital and guaranty fund of insurers and MBAs increased by 9.75% to P75.90 billion.

“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. — D.G.C. Robles | Business World


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