Welcome once again to our local perspectives series where we’re meeting with our network members to find out about their local insurance market. In this edition, we caught up with Naraporn Saptaweekarn, Vice President, Healthcare Management/Corporate Business at Tokio Marine Life (TML) Thailand. As our network partner, they help provide local policies for our multinational clients in Thailand.
Thanks for joining us, Khun Naraporn, can you tell us a little about the services TML provides for MAXIS clients in Thailand?
Thank you for the opportunity. Yes, TML has a great relationship with MAXIS GBN as we have been working with the team for many years. We provide life, medical, accident and disability insurance to MAXIS’ multinational clients in Thailand.
It has been a particularly difficult few years for everyone, with the COVID-19 pandemic. How has COVID-19 affected the insurance market in Thailand?
The pandemic affected some insurance companies in Thailand quite negatively in terms of growth. Despite the decline, TML hasn’t been too badly affected and the impact has been moderate and manageable.
Lockdowns, travel restrictions and the economic downturn has made it difficult for people to afford insurance premiums and so the overall figure in the insurance industry has declined as peoples’ incomes have reduced. I think that the decline in people buying insurance individually means that employer-sponsored insurance plans are now more important than ever.
Yes, we couldn’t agree more that the last two years have shown the value of employer sponsored employee benefits plans. Can you tell us a little bit more about how TML has responded to the pandemic?
In these difficult times, we have had to adapt to offer new services to help our clients’ people and their families. Thailand had a continuous increase in the number of new COVID-19 cases as infections spread widely, causing problems when the number of infected people was more than the number of hospital beds available.
We set up a working group to help our customers access a hospital bed when they needed one and used our strong network of hospitals to help. This was critical because we knew that the sooner they received treatment the better it would be for their long-term health. We assisted in co-ordinating hospital beds for over 200 people.
As well as this, we also offered a series of talks and webinars from specialist doctors to help educate people about the risk factors of COVID-19 and how to keep themselves safe.
What are the most common services you’re seeing multinationals in Thailand request?
That’s a good question. I think it has changed. The service most frequently requested by multinational companies in Thailand is the consulting service, focusing on psychological problems and the impact of the COVID situation. According to the Department of Mental Health, mental health is the biggest problem for people in Thailand since COVID. It has been shown to particularly affect those who experience stress, sadness, anxiety, depression and insomnia. Employers are now looking at how to provide mental health support for their people.
That’s not surprising, as in almost every market around the world we’ve seen an increase in mental health claims and interest in mental health support. What other health concerns are you seeing claims for? Has this changed since COVID?
Before the pandemic, many of our medical claims were caused by more simple conditions like flu and diarrhoea. That changed during the pandemic, as I mentioned, as hospitals had to reserve beds for COVID-19 patients. The patients who have been admitted to hospital have been critically ill and going forward we are likely to see these medical claims converted to disability claims due to an inability to work.
Thanks for your time and insight into the Thai market Khun Naraporn. If you would like to find out more about TML Thailand’s services, please contact your MAXIS representative.