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Israeli Insurer Offers Mobile Phone Illness Policy

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