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06 Jan 2017

Food Poisoning: What is and isn't covered?


Food Poisoning

Many of us understand Personal Accident insurance as protection against mishaps such as road accident, but food poisoning? This really depends on the policy cover. 

In August 2015, the news reported that a 50-year-old technician had both his hands and feet amputated. Mr Tan suffered food poisoning after eating a raw fish dish. He was hospitalized and was given a drug to help redirect blood flow to his vital organs. However due to the potential side effects of the drug, his limbs shriveled and had to be amputated in the end. 

Due to his hospitalization and surgery, Mr Tan and his family chalked up a medical bill of $28,000. He is unable to work after his operation. In the same report, it was also mentioned that a medical social worker was helping to seek workmen injury compensation for him. 

If Mr Tan had bought a Personal Accident insurance, would he be covered?
Personal Accident insurance is there to protect you from death and bodily injury as a result of accident. Some policies have gone on to include medical cover for illnesses and infectious diseases contracted by the Insured such as avian influenza, dengue fever and food poisoning. If Mr Tan had bought such a policy, he would receive some financial relief to cover his medical expenses. 

However, death and disability payouts remain strictly based on accident and not sickness and infectious diseases. 

Even though Mr Tan suffered a total and permanent disability, the facts leading to the situation was an illness and not accident. This means he will not be eligible for the total and permanent disablement cover. 

Is Mr Tan covered by Workmen Injury Compensation Act?
Workmen Injury Compensation Act covers employees against accidents at work or if they had contracted a disease as a result of work. As Mr Tan's food poisoning was not caused by work, it is unlikely he will receive any compensation.