Friday, January 5, 2018

Can Safer Air Travel Lower Airline Travel Insurance Premiums?

Given that air travel fatalities has been in decline for the past 20 years and 2017 was declared as the safest year for airline travel, will the trend result in lower airline travel insurance premiums?

By: Ringo Bones 

Even though air crash fatality payouts in airline travel insurance policies are de rigueur, most air travel insurance policies are advertised for other reasons. Why buy airline travel insurance? Well, these days flights and hotels are booked but one needs to protect his or her vacation investment after shelling out significant amounts of money and those whose day-jobs involve weekly airline travel trips involving 500 miles or more, concerns arise if… A) You come down with the flu just a few days before your departure? B) The tour operator for your 2-day excursion suddenly declares bankruptcy? Or C) You are unexpectedly laid-off from your job? 

Major insurance providers already provide airline travel insurance to help protect your trip investment by taking the worry out of unforeseen circumstances that could disrupt your plans. Most of them can provide trip cancellation coverage, giving your cash back for up to 100-percent of your trip costs for reasons like: termination by employer, covered illness or injury of you and your traveling companions, airline stopping services for at least 24 hours due to natural disasters such as hurricanes, named severe storms or earthquakes. Affordable plans start as low as 17 US dollars and coverage is usually around 1,500 US dollars per person for flight cancellations and 300 to 500 US dollars a day for trip interruptions. Will these premiums get even lower given that 2017 was declared as the safest year ever for airline travel and airline crash fatalities has been in decline during the past 20 years? 

Despite of the tragic and scary chapter that we call 9/11, the mysterious disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Fight MH 370 back in March 8, 2014, the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 over Donetsk by a Russian made Buk surface-to-air missile back in July 17, 2014, the number of airliner accidents has been in a slow and steady decline during the past 20 years. Harro Ranter, president of The Aviation Safety Network said: “Since 1997 the average number of airliner accidents has shown a steady and persistent decline, for a great deal thanks to the continuing safety-driven efforts by international aviation organizations such as ICAO, IATA, Flight Safety Foundation and the aviation industry.” 

The Dutch consultancy To70, estimated there was now one fatal accident for every 16-million flights, although its report was compiled before the Costa Rica crash occurred. While the Aviation Safety Network’s report shows that the accident rate now stands at one fatal passenger flight accident per 7,360,000 flights. If cargo planes were included, a report by the Airline Safety Network shows that there were a total of 10 fatal accidents, resulting in 79 deaths for the whole of 2017, compared with 16 accidents and 303 lives lost in 2016. The organization based its figures on incidents involving civil aircraft certified to carry at least 14 people. Given the statistically significant decline in airline accident fatalities during the past 20 years, should these translate to lower airline travel insurance premiums?

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Jamii Insurance: Best Health Insurance For The Poor?

With premiums at only 1 U.S. dollar a month, is Jamii Insurance the best health insurance for Tanzania’s poor? 

By: Ringo Bones 

Even though they badly needed it, health insurance is a novel luxury in Tanzania. The penetration of health insurance is as low as 4.5-percent, which means that the majority of Tanzania’s low-income and informal workers do not have access to insurance and struggle to pay for health services. As a recent add-on to the company’s financial cooperative groups, Jamii Insurance has been recently hailed by its clients for being able to provide top notch healthcare while only asking for a premium of only 1 U.S. dollar a month. Best of all, it is payable via a mobile phone payment system like M-Pesa. 

The low income population of Tanzania – 47 million people in total – earns less than 70 U.S. dollars a month. For them, income is also dynamic, especially to informal workers / self employed who sometimes earns 200 U.S. dollars for this month but virtually none the next which also makes having a sizable savings account in a bank a luxury. This population in Tanzania also suffers from high rate of maternal deaths due to unsupervised home births and death from curable diseases due to lack of money to pay for medical services. Jamii Insurance comes as a much needed solution to this ignored population. Given that a sizable population of the poor already own mobile phones, this makes it much easier to perform the administrative activities of the insurer. 

Jamii is matched in strategic partnership with Jubilee Insurance and Vodacom. This helps cut insurance administration costs by as much as 95 percent, this enabling Jamii to offer a health insurance product with a premium for as little as 1 U.S. dollar a month. As a micro-insurance health startup that provides health insurance targeted at Tanzania’s low income population through their mobile phones, Jamii Insurance has been hailed as a miracle based on the service it has been able to provide.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Dengue Insurance: A Necessity In Tropical Regions?

If you live in a tropical region where the healthcare system is not as good as “Obamacare”, is dengue insurance a good option?

By: Ringo Bones 

Filipino nurses in the United States who have benefited from Obamacare often wonder why the Philippine government isn’t working hard enough have a healthcare system as good as one established. But given that something like this is still currently “science fiction”, will a kind of dengue insurance like the Pioneer MediCash Dengue Insurance be the next best thing? 

Given that dengue fever has financially devastating consequences when it afflicts fixed income people in the Philippines, a disease specific health insurance policy with an affordable premium would be an excellent option. Recently, I’ve checked out if one is locally available in the Philippines and as luck would have it, I’ve stumbled upon the Pioneer Pioneer MediCash Dengue Insurance. It is basically a disease-specific health insurance that provides a lump-sum payout of PhP 10,000 (which is equivalent to a little over 200 US dollars) medical assistance in the event that the policyholder is diagnosed with dengue fever – even if the diagnosis does not require a hospital stay. 

And even if you already have an HMO like Philhealth, there is still value in availing oneself of Pioneer MediCash Dengue Insurance. You still get your PhP 10,000 lump-sum payout on top of your HMO and Philhealth benefits to take care of other medical expenses. Receipts or hospital bills are not required as MediCash pays with just a valid doctor’s diagnosis accompanied by the diagnostic test results. The Pioneer MediCash Dengue Insurance only costs PhP 350 a year – which works out to an insurance premium of less than one peso a day to be your basic health insurance against a common tropical disease like dengue. 

It is relatively easy to apply for the Pioneer MediCash Dengue Insurance, you just need to pay for an activation form at SM Bills Pay and complete the personal information form. No medical questionnaires are required. And when it comes to the beneficiaries, you, your family members, friends and household staff are eligible. When it comes to age requirement, applicants ages 1 to 70 are eligible. 

Unfortunately, like most health insurance policies, there are preexisting condition restrictions. Someone who already sick with dengue are ineligible for the PhP 10,000 benefit because the Pioneer MediCash Dengue Insurance has a 15-day waiting period, which means that the insured should not be feeling the symptoms of dengue, not be showing signs of dengue, not have consulted a doctor for dengue and not make a claim for dengue. 

To get the PhP 10,000 benefit, once you are insured over the 15-day waiting period and start feeling the symptoms and signs of dengue, you should consult a doctor. And then ask the doctor to complete the Claims Supplementary Medical Report (CSMR) which is like a medical certificate and comes with your Pioneer MediCash Coverage Summary. Then take a digital photo of your CSMR and the diagnostic results with your smartphone and then send the photo via email to or viber to +63 917 5317213. 

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Should There Be A Donald J. Trump Presidency Insurance?

Given that Donald J. Trump winning the U.S. presidency has been deemed one of the top 10 risks facing the world, should there be a “Donald Trump Presidency Insurance”?

By: Ringo Bones 

American billionaire, reality show host and current U.S. Republican Party’s U.S. presidential candidate Donald J. Trump has just been deemed as one of the top 10 risks facing the world, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit or EIU. The research firm warns that Mr. Trump could disrupt the global economy and further heighten political and security risks in the United States. However, the Economist Intelligence Unit does not expect Mr. Trump to defeat Hillary Clinton who it sees as “his most likely Democratic contender.” 

The Economist Intelligence Unit rates a Donald J. Trump presidency riskier than Britain leaving the European Union or an armed conflict in the South China Sea. According to the EIU, the events it sees are more dangerous than a Trump presidency are Mainland China encountering an economic “hard landing” or sharp economic slowdown and Russia’s interventions in Ukraine and Syria that could reignite a “New Cold War”. “Thus far, Mr. Trump has given very few details of his policies – and these tend to be prone to constant revision,” the EIU said in its global risk assessment, which looks at impact and probability. The EIU ranking uses a scale of one to 25, with Mr. Trump garnering a rating of 12, the same level of risk as “the rising threat of Jihadi Terrorism destabilizing the global economy.” 

Given Lloyd’s of London’s willingness to underwrite unique risks whose adequate actuarial figures of probability are not available – i.e. damage to dancers’ legs, rain-outs of public events and even the appearance of the Loch Ness Monster – it seems that Lloyd’s would probably be issuing a Donald Trump Presidency Insurance policy anytime soon. And the Economist Intelligence Unit already has the pertinent probability figures to please Lloyd’s “actuarial pool”.   

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Allstate’s Safe Driving Bonus Check: Caveat Emptor?

Despite being around for almost 10 years now, should one read the proverbial “fine print” before availing themselves of Allstate’s Safe Driving Bonus Check? 

By: Ringo Bones 

When I first saw the Allstate Safe Driving Bonus Check advert back in 2007 and the related TV ad featuring The Unit’s Dennis Haysbert, it seems that Allstate’s scheme to drag more customers to avail themselves of their “novel” Car Insurance / Auto Insurance policy scheme seems too good to be true for giving you a bonus if you don’t have an accident claim for six months – and it really is by the time you read the fine print – it is not available in all states in the United States, especially in the state of California. But if the “positive aspects” of Allstate’s Safe Driving Bonus Check is available in your territory, is it a really beneficial bonus of one’s car insurance / auto insurance policy? 

The Safe Driving Bonus Check provides a credit to Allstate insured drivers that do not have a claim within a specified policy term for at least six months. The allotted credit is up to 5 percent of the policy insurance premium, applied to your renewal policy. For example, if you pay $500 for six months of car insurance, you are eligible to receive a $25 credit for your next six-month policy term. In other words, you would only have to pay $475 for your next six months with Allstate. This may seem to do wonders to your car insurance premiums, but as always, there are some minor catches. 

The minor catches are: In order to qualify for any of this, you must first be enrolled in Allstate Your Choice Auto program. Allstate Your Choice Auto requires you to have a clean driving record and good credit – i.e. insurance score. If you are eligible or already enrolled, the Safe Driving Bonus Check may not be available until your next policy renewal and additionally, any bonus under $5 will only be applied to your renewal premium. So if you don’t stay insured will Allstate, all bets are off.