It is highly likely that infections of Zika virus will continue to elevate in Asia, according to the recent statement given by the reputable World Health Organization. This statement encourages heightened awareness as 70 countries were already affected. Zika virus has been endemic in Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore. In our country alone, there have been over 400 reported cases this year.
For those of you who are not familiar with this illness, let me enlighten you! The first case of the Zika virus was reported in the 50s. It is transmitted by the Aedes mosquito (much like dengue). What is unique about it is that only 1 in 5 infections are symptomatic. That is alright because Zika is generally mild and self-limiting. However, it is dangerous for pregnant women due to the congenital Zika syndrome. Rare cases showed that some individuals developed serious neurological complications. This can potentially harm an unborn child. Unfortunately, there are no vaccines or anti-viral drugs to treat this illness.
Due to this alarming outbreak, many Singaporeans were quick to purchase protective measures such as mosquito repellents and insecticides. Further protection led for some people to pursue insurance policies. To their favor, more and more insurance companies are now offering extensions for Zika virus. These extensions are under personal accident or travel policies.
Among the five insurance companies that offer Zika coverage, NTUC Income came first. NTUC Income’s Personal Accident Assurance policy included Zika virus in the optional infectious disease coverage back in April. Ms. Annie Chua, the VP for personal lines at NTUC Income, once said: “This could be extended to other products with infectious disease cover.”
Great Eastern allows its previous and new Personal Accident policyholders to claim up to S$300 for medical expenses and S$30,000 in the event of death due to the virus. A pregnant woman who has been diagnosed with the illness is entitled to twice the amount of medical reimbursement. Furthermore, Great Eastern will pay a total of S$3,000 if the baby is born with an abnormally small head or with a Zika-related microcephaly.
Other insurance companies that provide Zika coverage are Prudential Singapore, Sompo Insurance Singapore, and AIA Singapore.
Mosquitos that cause Zika and dengue breed around homes in small amounts of clean water. This is why it is important to dispose waste in flower pots, discarded tyres, and other vessels that may accumulate water. Watch this short video to learn more about the efficient preventive measures: