Japan sells flu-specific insurance to overcome influenza surge

Premiums are paid entirely through smartphones and start from just US$1.90 a month

Japan sells flu-specific insurance to overcome influenza surge

Insurance News

By Mary Or

Japan has debuted its first flu-specific insurance. Effective Jan. 11, customers can pay for just flu insurance on their smartphone through e-payment service PayPay.

Less than a week after the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare announced that at least 1.24 cases of influenza were being reported per medical institution per week, exceeding the country’s threshold of 1.0, insurance firms such as Sumitomo Life Insurance and Z Holdings began to offer the “influenza omimai-kin,” or flu compensation, as a separate insurance product of its own.

The flu compensation policy premium varies per age group and plan. It ranges from just US$1.90 to US$2.70 per month for people 20 years and older, to US$2.90 to US$8.20 per month for those aged 10 to 19, Japanese periodical Mainichi reported.

The flu-specific insurance allowed a policyholder infected with the flu and prescribed medication for it to receive compensation of US$22 to up to US$53, depending on their policy plan.

While flu insurance policies will be only sold until March 22, insurance coverage will remain effective until April this year.

The announcement also came in the wake of Japan experiencing its first “twindemic”, or a seasonal influenza epidemic officially declared by the Japanese health ministry that coincided with an eighth COVID-19 wave in late December.

At the time, experts warned that the risk of the flu spreading across the country would be higher with everyone’s immunity to influenza down from the low number of cases that occurred throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Countermeasures against COVID-19 – which had included the wearing of masks, regular washing of hands, social distancing, and months of lockdown – had effectively lowered the number of flu cases in the past two years.

Another flu-specific insurance sale period is scheduled to start in September, the Mainichi reported.

Related Stories

Keep up with the latest news and events

Join our mailing list, it’s free!