Insurers Offer $150M Vaccine Cover To Developing Countries

By Martin Croucher
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Law360, London (April 29, 2021, 2:15 PM BST) -- A group of insurers said on Thursday that they will cover up to $150 million of claims arising from potential adverse effects of the COVID-19 vaccine in developing countries in a partnership with the World Health Organization.

Insurer Chubb and Marsh, a broker, have arranged insurance cover that will enable individuals in 92 lower-income countries to claim for injuries following "rare but serious" side effects after they receive a vaccine shot. Countries covered by the agreement include India, Vietnam, Pakistan and Indonesia.

The insurance scheme is available for an estimated 1.7 billion doses of vaccine that will be distributed by the end of 2021 to those countries deemed a priority by the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access, or COVAX. The body was set up at the start of the pandemic by WHO and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. 

"The delivery of COVAX-distributed vaccines will now enable some of the most vulnerable societies to rebuild and recover more quickly," John Doyle, president and chief executive of Marsh, said. "By working together, the public sector and insurance industry have the ability to develop solutions that can accelerate economic recovery from COVID-19."

The insurance scheme, named the COVAX No-fault Compensation Program, was initiated by Marsh, with Chubb as the lead insurer. A further 10 insurance companies in the U.S., Britain, Germany, Ireland, Switzerland and Bermuda are part of the initiative, which is the first of its kind.

The scheme will offer up to $150 million in payouts, with the cut-off date for claims at the end of June 2022.

WHO is monitoring severe adverse effects such as blood clotting from several types of COVID-19 vaccine. The organization said this month that the Oxford–AstraZeneca vaccine has created complications in one in 250,000 people in the U.K. and one in 100,000 in the European Union.

India, which has seen a massive surge in COVID-19 cases in recent months, is one of the 92 countries where the insurance scheme will be offered. Local media reported this month that authorities are investigating approximately 700 cases of individuals having experienced serious side effects from the vaccine.

The country's Ministry of Health did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Lloyd's of London launched an insurance product last year to cover potential losses from transporting vaccines around the world. The initiative, with $26.7 million in backing from the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation, helps to finance projects in the developing world.

--Editing by Joe Millis.

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