Cameroon’s Insurance Companies Refuse To Indemnify COVID-19 Related Deaths

Cameroon insurance companies have decided they would not indemnify clients who die as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a recently published correspondence to the President of the Association of Insurance Companies of Cameroon popularly, known by its French acronym, ASAC, Theophile Gerard Moulong, the President of the Association of Cameroon Professional Establishments of Credit also known by its French acronym, APECCAM, drew the attention of its members to coverage related to deaths by the COVID -19.

“…As you know, a pandemic is declared by the World Health Organisation (WHO). This is the case with the COVID-19. Thus all insurance coverage is within the exclusive prerogative of the state, which takes all the appropriate measures in case of an absolute major fault, whatever the guarantees previewed in the insurance contracts.

“Consequently, we pray you to inform your members that guarantees against death contained both in collective credit contracts as well as in contracts of individual holders’ accounts are no longer as of right concerning COVID-19 cases,” the APECCAM president informed the ASAC members.

“This in simple language means that holders of live insurance policies who die from the coronavirus no longer have a right to indemnity,” he explained.

“ Strange enough, the insurance companies do not come out clearly concerning the medical bills of COVID-19 patients and most insured clients are of the understanding that this exclusion measure also concerns medical bills,”a senior policy holder who did not give his name for fear of being vilified by his insurer told HumAngle in Douala.

“All re-insurers have refused to foot bills related to the COVID -19 pandemic thus forcing insurers to refuse footing any medical bills relating to the pandemic,” another life insurance policy holder in Yaounde said.

HumanAngle recalls that in an open letter published in the private daily newspaper, Le Quotidien, on April 20, the President of the Association of Insurance Companies of Cameroon, Protais Ayangma, called on insurance companies to be “in the frontline of the fight against COVID -19 and not hide”.

“Without playing to the fear and misfortune of those affected, they should propose packets relating to health, funeral assistance as well as savings to show that they are for their clients during hard times.

“Their clients would be recognised of such measures. The image of insurers in France was profoundly transformed following their interventions during catastrophes such as floods…”, the ASAC president advised.

The current attitude of the APECCAM and ASAC member companies, however, shows that the advice of the ASAC president has not received favourable consideration.

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Chief Bisong Etahoben

Chief Bisong Etahoben is a Cameroonian investigative journalist and traditional ruler. He writes for international media and has participated in several transnational investigations. Etahoben won the first-ever Cameroon Investigative Journalist Award in 1992. He serves as a member of a number of international investigative journalism professional bodies including the Forum for African Investigative Reporters (FAIR). He is HumAngle's Francophone and Central Africa editor.

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