A total of 1.5 million lives have been covered under the Coronavirus-specific insurance policies Corona Kavach and Corona Rakshak, according to Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI).
Speaking at the FICCI Fincon event, IRDAI chairman Subhash Khuntia said that the number of policies sold under the Coronavirus-specific policies showed that there is a huge demand for this product.
"Just in one month of the launch of the Corona plans, there has been 1.5 million people covered. This shows the need for this health cover and its popularity," he added.
On the directions of IRDAI, general and health insurers have started offering standard Corona Kavach which is an indemnity based health plan and Corona Rakshak which is a fixed benefit health insurance policy.
The coverage period ranges between 3.5 months and 9.5 months for the policies. Premiums begin from as low as Rs 250 for the 3.5 months tenure Rs 50,000 cover and Rs 3,000 premium for the 9.5 months cover of Rs 5 lakh.
However, IRDAI chairman Khuntia also subtly indicated that the regulator was 'compelled' to come out with these standard products since insurers do not come forward themselves to this effect.
"We waited for some time and then were compelled to launch these standard products. But we are satisfied that the industry has cooperated and launched these products now," he added.
Of the two standard products (Corona Kavach and Corona Rakshak), the former has been popular. IRDAI non-life member T L Alamelu had earlier said that 1.28 million lives had been covered under Corona Kavach.
She had also said that most policyholders had opted for the 9.5 months product duration considering the severity of Coronavirus. As of August 26, India had crossed a total tally of 3.31 reported positive cases with the highest-ever addition of 75,760 cases in a single day. Health ministry data showed that the death toll stood at 60,472.
IRDAI had also come out with a standard health insurance plan called Arogya Sanjeevani in April 2020. But policy sales have been muted on that front.
So far, 72,000 policies worth Rs 33 crore as premium collection have been sold under Arogya Sanjeevani.
Khuntia said that there has been some reluctance among insurers in selling Arogya Sanjeevani since they see it as competition to their own products.
"Insurers should cooperate as far as sales of standard products like Arogya Sanjeevani are concerned. It does not matter which policy sells more; at the end of the day it is you the insurer who is selling it. There will be less disputes during claims. Eventually, insurers will stand to benefit," he added.
As far as the post COVID-19 insurance world is concerned, Khuntia said that there is already a shift in product preference to products like health insurance.
Going forward, the IRDAI chairman said that apart from taking measures like conserving capital and holding adequate liquidity, insurers need to develop simple and innovative products that customers will buy.