Inbound foreign visitors to Singapore will now be able to purchase travel insurance coverage for Covid-19 related costs incurred locally, according to a joint media statement from Changi Airport Group (CAG) and the Singapore Tourism Board (STB).
With earlier research pointing to inbound insurance coverage as a key factor to revive inbound travel to Singapore, the two stakeholders had worked with the General Insurance Association of Singapore to lead an Expression of Interest exercise to suss out initial interest since August 2020.
In response, three private sector insurance companies — AIG Asia Pacific Insurance, Chubb Insurance Singapore and HL Assurance — have developed travel insurance products which provide at least S$30,000 (US$22,357) in coverage for Covid-19 related medical treatment and hospitalisation costs.
This finalised amount comes recommended by the Ministry of Health, based on Covid-19 bill sizes at private hospitals, where inbound travellers typically receive care for Covid-19.
“We noticed such [travel insurance] products were not available in the market, and wanted to encourage insurers to develop such products and offer them to travellers at a reasonable price,” said Lee Seow Hiang, CAG’s CEO.
“As we gradually reopen for safe travel, Covid-19 insurance coverage is a key enabler to rebuild traveller confidence and provide peace of mind. We are heartened that the public and private sectors have come together to provide solutions, and we look forward to more collaborations that will help Singapore lead the way as a safe, trusted and innovative destination,” said Keith Tan, STB’s chief executive.
Currently, inbound foreign visitors entering Singapore based on the various Safe Travel Lanes arrangements are expected to bear the full costs of medical treatments, tests and isolation, should they be suspected of a Covid-19 infection or require medical attention for the illness while in Singapore.
With this new announcement, these travellers will now be able to purchase a travel insurance plan to offset some of these costs.
Premiums for these inbound travel insurance plans start from S$5.35 (inclusive of GST) and can be purchased directly from the insurers through their respective websites. At press time, both AIG and HL Assurance's policies are ready for purchase, while Chubb Insurance's policies will be ready by 27 November 2020.
The new insurance products will also complement Singapore's ongoing work in testing prototypes to resume safe travel. This testing was announced by the Emerging Stronger Taskforce Alliance for Action on Enabling Safe and Innovative Visitor Experiences in September.
Covid coverage for travel bubble flights
With the kickstart of the Singapore-Hong Kong travel bubble, travellers flying with Singapore Airlines (SIA) from either Singapore or Hong Kong also have the option of adding Covid-covered travel insurance, according to a report by The Business Times.
Underwritten by AIG Asia Pacific Insurance, the insured is covered for related costs up to S$350,000, and includes emergency evacuation and repatriation costs if the insured is diagnosed overseas.
Travel cancellation is accepted up to 60 days before departure if the insured or relative contracts Covid-19 before departure. However, travel postponement or cancellations due to border closures, government orders or quarantines are not included in the cover.
One-way travel coverage also differs, including only travel postponement and cancellation.
In contrast, the add-on insurance available through Cathay Pacific and underwritten by Chubb Insurance Singapore, according to The Business Times report, expressly states that it continues to exclude all claims directly or indirectly arising from Covid-19.