EghtesadOnline: Insurance companies in Iran paid 13.63 trillion rials ($48.3 million) in Covid-related medical bills since the outbreak of the deadly virus in February 2020.
Gholamreza Soleimani, head of the Central Insurance company of Iran (the regulatory body of the industry), in a talk Sunday with state TV reflected on the performance of insurance companies vis-à-vis coronavirus bills.
"Hospitalization costs accounted for nearly one-third of pandemic-related payouts followed by medicine 18% and Covid tests 15% share of the total. The purpose of 19% of payments is not clear yet," he said.
Dey Insurance Company, affiliated to Dey Bank, topped the list of in terms of Covid bills with 29% of the total reimbursements. Iran Insurance Company, Dana Insurance and Sina Insurance were next each accounting for 10% of the total. Asia Insurance Company came in with 8%.
The senior insurance official said the pandemic accounted for 6% of the payouts to medical policyholders during the period.
Nearly half the payments were made to cases between March 2021 and March 2022.
Soleimani stressed that the insurance industry is doing all it can to support medical centers and their staff in the fight against the pandemic that has cut short 129,000 lives, affected almost six million people and battered the economy.
Law stipulates that insurance companies must pay 10% of their revenue from third-party auto insurance -- the category with the highest share in insurance companies' portfolio -- to the Health Ministry.
Insurers gave 6.6 trillion rials ($28m) to medical centers affiliated to the Ministry of Health to help overcome financial constraints inflicted by the brutal virus.
Since the early days of the virus outbreak insurance companies were told to cover all the expenses of policyholders infected with the coronavirus and expand the scope of medical insurance cover to include PRC tests.
Earlier this year, the CII signed an agreement with the Health Ministry to hospitalize medical insurance policyholders in need.
The ministry required all state and private hospitals and medical centers to admit patients infected with the coronavirus without conditions.
The call was made after objections and reports about some hospitals' refusal to admit patients who are members of the state and semi-state insurance companies.
Besides curbing the impact of the virus on their business, insurance companies deem the pandemic as a rare development that allows them to burnish their credentials with customers who very often complain about the strange practices, mainly of expensive private hospitals, in demanding full payment of bills and refusing to deal with the bureaucracy of insurance companies and other hassles.
More than 25 million Iranians have medical insurance.