CSANews 114

T his is not, as you might suspect, fear of the new coronavirus known as COVID-19 that is spreading across the world with intensity and abandon. That is the fear of the virus. The more difficult problem, in my opinion, is that fear itself has gone viral. Most of us have been quarantined, or simply forced to stay home for the past two or three months and what do we do? We sit in front of our stupid TVs and listen to program after program telling us how many deaths there are and how horrible this all is. The body bags, the refrigeration trucks and the thousands of medical staff dressed up like aliens are permanent images that are being injected into our brains. Vignettes of survivors telling their horrible stories are making movie stars of those people who can make COVID-19 sound the worst and the most dangerous. TV interviewers dress up like laboratory monkeys to impress on you how serious they are. This is what is creating “viral fear.” There are millions of real survivors and millions more who have had the COVID- 19 virus and do not even know it. This is a nasty virus, and there is no doubt about that. It is one of perhaps 20 nasty viruses which we have encountered over the past 100 years and we have found cures or vaccines for almost all of them. We will solve this one and I believe that we will solve it very quickly. There are many drug candidates for possible treatments and several have been very successful in other countries. President Trump has spoken of the drug Hydroxychloroquine and I know that Ciclesonide and Remdesivir, as well as a combination of Lopinavir and Ritonavir, are being investigated and have shown very positive results. A potential vaccine known as mRNA-1273 is also in trial studies and shows great promise. Perhaps next year we will get a super flu shot…let us hope so. The fear of the virus, itself, has mostly dissipated. We understand it now, we are very close to knowing how to deal with it and we know how to keep ourselves safe. The irrational and viral fear, however, unfortunately created a few monsters. The one that affected snowbirds the most was that some insurers panicked and told their policyholders that their travel medical insurance was being cancelled due to COVID-19 and the government travel advisories. Several insurers gave their clients 10 days to get back home and, after that (usually March 23), there was no coverage. WHAT!!!! How can you cancel a policy in the middle of its term because of “Viral Fear”? I did not read this in any policy, but I’ll bet that a dozen lawyers figured out that they could get away with doing it. Most policies have government advisory exclusions, but I have never seen one with a “pandemic” exclusion or one that allowed an insurer to cancel a policy in the middle of its term, outside of the policy provisions. The panic, stress and distress which these insurance companies caused were hor- rendous. Snowbirds were forced to pack up their homes and get back to Canada – NOW. Moving is one of the most J. Ross Quigley CEO Medipac International Inc. Insurance Viral Fear 12 | www. snowbirds .org