Aditya Birla Health has seen Coronavirus outbreak leading to more customers turning to medical insurance covers for financial protection against hospitalisation.
Amidst a slump in business growth for the insurance industry, standalone health insurers have seen a rise in demand for products due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
In an interaction with Moneycontrol, Mayank Bathwal, CEO, Aditya Birla Health Insurance, said the company saw a 71 percent growth in gross written premium in the April-May period over the previous year.
Industry data showed that the health insurer collected gross premium of Rs 156.33 crore in the period between April 1 and May 31 period (FY21) compared to the same period a year ago.
"We were at an advantage because the sales force was equipped to sell products using the digital platform. Even in April, we saw a 61 percent growth in premiums," he said.
The insurance regulator has now brought out specific guidelines for COVID-19 health products. Bathwal said that while this would enable a higher reach of insurance among customers, premium collection won’t be large.
Industry sources had told Moneycontrol that these products would be priced at a significantly lower premium than regular health plans so that customers across income groups can avail their benefits.
When it comes to Aditya Birla Health, Bathwal said that the company has started video underwriting and telephone underwriting to check the medical history of the customers.
"Though not all products can be sold on the basis of tele/video underwriting, we have enabled this facility. By doing this, we have been able to enable customers to buy relevant products seamlessly," he said.
In FY20, the insurer collected gross written premium of Rs 872 crore, showing a year-on-year growth of 76 percent. Of this, retail business contributed 72 percent.
Aditya Birla Health Insurance is a 51-49 joint venture between Aditya Birla Group and South Africa’s MMI Holdings.
Going forward, Bathwal said that the focus will be on offering bite-sized products, expanding the distribution partners be it getting public sector banks or explore areas like PM Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY).
"Now that we have completed three years, we will be eligible to have bancassurance partnerships with public sector banks and also be eligible for PMJAY. We will look into it," he added.
PMJAY is a government scheme that offers Rs 5 lakh health insurance per family for those belonging to certain socio-economic groups in rural and urban areas. A total of 100 million families and 500 million beneficiaries are eligible for this fully government-sponsored cover.Follow our coverage of the coronavirus crisis here