The insurtech company claims its coronavirus coverage is the first insurance policy of its kind in India

Digit Insurance claims it has launched India's first coronavirus insurance policy (Credit: Niaid-Rml)

Digit Insurance has launched what it says is the first policy for coronavirus in India, committing to pay out a fixed amount to those infected with the virus, and half to those who are quarantined but test negative.

The Bangalore-based insurtech has set a limit on claims of 200,000 Indian Rupees ($2,740) on policies, with INR25,000 ($320) the lowest available.

The base premium is INR299 ($4) for the firm’s example case of a 30-year-old taking out the lower limit.

Digit Insurance founder and chairman Kamesh Goyal said: “It is unfortunate to contract an infection for which treatments are still in the trial phases — in such a time, we saw this cover to be the need of the hour.

“We understand that at such a devastating time, customers wouldn’t want to be stuck doing paperwork and running around to raise money to pay for the multiple screening and treatment tests.

coronavirus india
Digit Insurance founder and Chairman Kamesh Goyal (Credit: Digit Insurance)

“Therefore, we are offering this as a flat benefit cushion cover, for both positive and quarantined cases.”

The insurtech explained that a fixed-sum claim amount would avoid the patient having to spend time sending medical bills to the insurer, and waiting for their treatment to end before being reimbursed.

In the case of quarantine, the 50% sum paid regardless of whether a customer is found to have contracted the disease — also referred to as 2019-nCoV or Covid-19 – was designed to cover income loss.

The policy was developed within a regulatory sandbox programme overseen by India’s Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority, which encourages insurers to launch and test innovative products.


Policy exclusions for coronavirus victims in India

There are a number of exclusions on the Digit Insurance policy that can prevent a consumer from buying coverage, as well as nullify a claim.

Consumers aged 75 and over, statistically one of the most at-risk age groups, cannot purchase coverage.

Those already presenting with symptoms, such as a cough, with or without sputum, blocked sinuses, a fever with body pain, or shortness of breath are also exempt because they may already have the disease.

Eligibility criteria also specifies that the insured, or their immediate family members, should not have travelled to China, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Macau, Italy, Iran, Bahrain, Kuwait or Taiwan, since 1 December 2019.

The company stated that for a claim to be paid, “the insured should not have been in contact with someone with a suspected history of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) till the policy ends.”

In practice, it said this means if the disease is contracted through a family member who has travelled to any of the above countries, including since December 2019, the claim won’t be paid.

But, if coverage is taken out for a mother, father and their child, the child catches the disease from their school, and all three catch it — the entire family will be eligible to claim.

The insurtech will rely on government reports that trace the history of each case of coronavirus to find out where an insured caught it from.

Vivek Chaturvedi, the company’s head of marketing and direct added: “The conditions of this cover are very practical and were not made from a point of view of claim rejection,”

“Rather, all possible innocent cases in which a person could not control the contraction are covered.”