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Court Dismisses 40 Billion Baht Lawsuit Against OIC

The Central Administrative Court has dismissed a substantial 40 billion baht lawsuit against the Office of Insurance Commission (OIC), filed by Syn Mun Kong Insurance Public Company. The case centered on the commission’s ban on canceling the company’s contentious Covid 2 in 1 (jer-jai-job) insurance policies, which were sold to about one million customers during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2021.

In mid-2021, Syn Mun Kong shocked the insurance industry by announcing the abrupt termination of its Covid coverage. The company attributed this decision to severe financial strain resulting from the substantial compensation claims made by insured clients. This abrupt move caused widespread panic among Syn Mun Kong’s customers and other policyholders who feared similar actions from their insurers. The public backlash led to protests as outraged customers demanded their policies be honored.

The Office of the Insurance Commission responded by issuing Order 38.2021, a directive that prohibited all insurance companies from canceling their Covid insurance policies. This measure was crucial in protecting the interests of 16 million policyholders, with the collective liability from these policies estimated at an immense 100 billion baht. The court’s decision highlighted the significant impact that allowing Syn Mun Kong to avoid its compensation obligations could have had, noting that such a precedent might erode trust in the insurance sector and encourage other companies to shirk their responsibilities under different policies. The commission’s order ensured that all 16 million policyholders remained covered until their policies naturally expired, according to Thai PBS World.

In related developments, rising health concerns over PM2.5 air pollution in Thailand have prompted insurance companies to create policies covering respiratory diseases caused by this hazardous particulate matter. TQM Insurance Brokers, in collaboration with Bangkok Insurance (BKI), has launched a new health insurance policy specifically designed to address ailments related to PM2.5 dust exposure.

Officials and various stakeholders attended the court proceedings, emphasizing the importance of upholding consumer protection in the insurance industry. This case and the subsequent ruling underscore the need for regulatory bodies to enforce policies that safeguard the public and maintain trust in the financial sector.

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