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Israeli Insurer Offers Mobile Phone Illness Policy
February 21, 2000

An Israeli insurance firm is  launching a new policy this week which will allow mobile phone users to cover themselves against brain cancer and diseases of  the central nervous system.  

The move by Migdal, part of Israel's Leumi Insurance Holdings, follows concern that such illnesses could be linked to  radiation from wireless communications equipment.  

Insurance agent Yossi Taggar told Reuters that although no  direct link has been established, there is enough research  showing a potential risk to warrant insurance coverage.  

"We didn't do this because there is a huge concern, but to address all possible circumstances," he said.

"We don't offer an opinion on whether there is a high or  low risk to develop brain cancer or central nervous system  disease. The fact that the risk is there demands some form of  preparation for it."  

The coverage will be offered to companies and organisations  seeking a collective policy for employees using cellular phones  at a premium of 40 shekels ($10) a year per person, and covers  up to 100,000 shekels in medical costs.  

The policy holder need not prove the disease was directly  caused by mobile phone use to collect on the insurance, Taggar  said.  

First on Taggar's marketing list were Israel's three mobile  operators, Pele-Phone, Cellcom and Partner Communications, but  they have so far declined to take up the policy.  

Leumi Insurance's controlling shareholder is Italy's  Generali. ($1 - 4.05 shekels)