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Thai Insurers Sue Gov’t Over Ban on Canceling Covid-19 Policies

A Covid-19 patient in an intensive-care ward at a private hospital in Bangkok.
A Covid-19 patient in an intensive-care ward at a private hospital in Bangkok.

Two insurance companies are suing the government’s regulator over its ban on cancelling Covid-19 policies that offered lump-sum payments.

Suthipol Taweechaikarn, secretary-general of the Office of Insurance Commission, on Friday visited the Central Administrative Court in Bangkok’s Lak Si district for a scheduled hearing in the case where he and the OIC are being sued by the two insurance businesses.

Suthipol has said he is willing to take the case all the way to the highest court, noting that the OIC acted lawfully and in the interest of the public. He explained that attempts by insurers to cancel their coronavirus policies during the crisis period, after promising coverage until the end date of each policy, were viewed by the OIC as a form of exploitation.

He added that the attempts undermined public trust in insurance firms.

The secretary-general said his office needed to stand its ground to prevent insurers from creating a precedent by citing changes in risk factors to cancel existing policies.

He elaborated that insurance firms issued 24.4 million COVID insurance policies in 2020 and made enormous profits, prompting them to continue selling the policies into 2021.

Later that year, the firms faced massive numbers of claims as more insured persons contracted COVID-19.