Insurance regulator vows to protect rights of consumers, policyholders

The Office of Insurance Commission (OIC)’s secretary-general said on Friday he will do his best to uphold the rights of Covid-19 insurance policyholders, after a lawsuit was filed against the order to ban policy cancellation.

The Central Administrative Court is holding a hearing on a lawsuit brought by Southeast Insurance against OIC secretary-general Suthiphon Thaveechaiyagarn, alleging that the OIC’s decision to ban policy cancellation was unlawful.

“We must protect the rights of policyholders,” Suthiphon told reporters before the hearing. “Because if the insurance coverage is terminated, more than 10 million policyholders will be left behind.”

“We don’t know whether we’ll win or lose the lawsuit,” he said.

The order to ban cancellation of Covid-19 policies stemmed from a liquidity crisis among insurance firms, which were unable to make lump-sum payouts for claims when Covid-19 infections spiked last year. 

The insurance firms had issued Covid insurance during the early part of the pandemic when Thailand saw relatively few cases. The scheme would pay out to policy holders if they caught Covid.

Earlier, the OIC had received complaints from clients about payout delays, policy revisions, and attempts to cancel policies due to the surge in cases and the lack of capital on the part of insurance companies.

Suthiphon suggested insurance firms should raise capital and seek out solutions for their clients instead of filing a lawsuit. 

“Taking a case to court sets the improper norm since it is regarded as taking advantage of the people,” he said. 

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