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HIV Insurance Debuts in Central China Province

An insurance company in central China's Henan Province has launched a new policy that ensures the beneficiary a compensation of up to 300,000 yuan (US$37,050) in case of HIV infection.

According to the new insurance program of the Henan Provincial Branch of China Taiping Life Insurance Co., a policyholder will pay 12.9 yuan (US$1.6) in annual premium for an insured sum of10,000 yuan (US$1,235) in case he or she is infected with HIV during the year. Each policyholder can pay up to 387 yuan (US$48) in annual premiums for a total insured amount of 300,000 yuan (US$37,050).

Taiping Life was authorized by the China Insurance Regulatory Commission in early October to launch the HIV insurance program nationwide, said Peng Dahua, an executive with the company's Henan branch.

Peng said that as a group insurance product, the policies are designed principally for companies, hospitals and law enforcement organizations to buy for their staff members, rather than individuals.

The insurer did not rule out the possibility to sell the policies to entertainment centers in the future.

According to Peng, no insurance policy has been signed by the weekend.

The exemption clause of the policy says the compensation terms do not apply to hemophilia patients, druggers, HIV carriers confirmed before the insurance policy takes effect, victims of nuclear radiation and those who are transfused with illegally acquired, shoddy blood products.

Nor do the compensation clauses apply to patients who are infected with HIV because of medical malpractice. But they do protect homosexuals, Peng said.

He said his company has chosen Henan Province as the first market of the new product because it is one of the country's worst affected areas by HIV and AIDS. Health department statistics say 25,036 people in Henan had been confirmed HIV-positive and 11,815 had developed AIDS by 2004.

(Xinhua News Agency October 31, 2005)

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