The group, led by Dechanan Suwanno and Winit Yuraman, submitted a formal request for Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew to take action to protect the people whose COVID insurance policies had not been upheld.
Three companies were specifically named by the group: Southeast Insurance, Thai Insurance Co and The One Company.
In January, the Office of the Insurance Commission (OIC) said that Southeast Insurance, which late last year had found itself heading for dissolution due to being unable to uphold policy claims, had not been approved for liquidation, stressing that all coverage for policyholders was still in place.
The swift clarification from the OIC followed a statement by the insurance giant to the authorities that it planned to cease operations.
Before that, in late December, the Finance Ministry revoked the business license of The One Insurance, formerly known as Assets Insurance, after it failed to raise its capital to solve its liquidity issue and settle Covid-19 insurance claims for lump sum payments.
According to the Finance Ministry, The One Insurance’s liquid assets stood at B162 million, drastically lower than the company’s outstanding claims that had surged to more than B2.44 billion.
“There hasn’t been any action that should have taken place. Today we have gathered documents of those who have suffered from unpaid COVID-19 insurance claims,” Mr Dechanan said.
Mr Dechanan explained that the most common policies provided coverage of up to B100,000, but that most of the claims unpaid were for amounts not exceeding B50,000.
“Therefore we are calling for action that is beneficial to everyone from the said insurance companies, including submitting a petition to the Phuket Damrongtham Center [Provincial Ombudsman’s Office],” he said.
“I would like those who are in trouble to come and claim the right to receive compensation from the COVID-19 insurance that they have taken out," he said.
Phuket Vice Governor Pichet Panapong and Thanat Kumsantia, Director of the OIC Phuket office, met the group to receive their complaint.
Mr Thanat assured the group that the OIC had launched an investigation into the failure of the companies to pay out COVID-19 claims.
“The Phuket OIC office has a complaint system. For those who have filed a complaint, we will keep track of the status of your steps in the process to order the company to pay you.
“If that process is not effective, the next step will be legal action [against the company],” he said.
“If the companies are deregistered or unable to pay, you will be paid by the fund, but that process will take time,” he said.