Home country insurance coverage affects RICBL’s tourist insurance

On January 20, 2023, the Royal Insurance Corporation of Bhutan Limited (RICBL) introduced a new insurance policy, especially targeting tourists, under the mandate of the Department of Immigration, Ministry of Home Affairs. While a decent revenue of Nu 183,247 has been generated till date, there has been no insurance claims so far.  

An official from the RICBL said that the product was introduced to enhance safety and security, protection from financial losses, especially for tourists. Tourist insurance is a comprehensive insurance policy designed for tourists with a sum insured from Nu 0.1mn up to Nu 0.7mn with affordable premium ranging from Nu 240 up to 7,084 depending upon duration of tourist stay in the country.

According to the RICBL official, “Tourists typically have insurance coverage from their home countries that extends to other destinations, which typically affects the demand for insurance provided by the RICBL.” The official said that this existing insurance coverage impacts the demand for the insurance.

The rise in the Sustainable Development Fund (SDF) has also reduced the number of tourists which has reduced potential clients. The official said that currently, the majority of clients buying this insurance services are Indian tourists, followed by very few from the United States.

Meanwhile, under the newly introduced scheme, clients can benefit from coverage for various unforeseen circumstances. This includes a series of risks such as permanent or total disability, emergency medical evacuation, third party liability, repatriation of mortal remains, and return trip delay. “With such coverage in place, travelers can embark on their journey with a lot of peace in mind,” an official from RICBL said.  

Further, the scheme extends its coverage to offer other essential risk schemes. It offers protection against accident or illness treatment expenses, loss of passport and baggage during the trip and death.

However, RICBL has introduced certain exclusions to ensure the sustainability and viability of the scheme. Under this exclusion, there are a series of insurance covering expenses arising from pre-existing medical conditions, pre-planned/ pre-known medical / dental treatment or diagnostic procedure and treatment, which in the opinion of the medical practitioner can be delayed until the insured’s return to the country of departure.

The other exclusions are medical or dental treatment not of a surgical or medical procedure, any costs related to pregnancy or childbirth, death due to suicide, injury or death of any family member or household of the insured, or person in the service or the insured and property belonging to, or held in trust by the insured or insured’s family, household or employees.

Further, under this exclusion includes loss or damage to property which is the legal responsibility of the insured or the insured’s family, household, or employee, any liability which attaches by virtue of a contractual agreement, but which would not exist in law in absence of such an agreement; and liability of material damage for which the cover is provided under other insurance.

Nidup Lhamo from Thimphu