Looking to offer mental health counselling feature across all products, says Aditya Birla Health CEO

Mental health counselling has been launched in a product feature in the newer version of the insurer's Activ Health policy. Traditionally, only hospitalisation coverage for mental health ailments is provided by Indian insurers.

March 04, 2021 / 06:39 PM IST

Standalone health insurer Aditya Birla Health Insurance is looking to offer the mental health counselling feature across its entire product portfolio.

In an interaction with Moneycontrol, Mayank Bathwal, CEO, Aditya Birla Health Insurance said there is a rise in awareness about mental health and also the need for non-hospitalisation related assistance like therapy and counselling.

“We will be looking to expand the mental health counselling feature across other products as well. This is a product feature that is required in the Indian market,” he added.

Aditya Birla Health Insurance has launched an initiative of up to 100 percent health insurance premium returns and allied product offering upgrades under a newer version of its Activ Health policy.

This policy will cover counselling for mental health illness which is traditionally excluded in medical policies. While mental health insurance coverage is mandatory as per law, Indian health insurance plans primarily cover hospitalisation related to treatment of psychiatric ailments or anxiety attacks.

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Bathwal said that the way the company is looking at health insurance is in stark contrast to the industry.

"Health insurance is primarily looked as sickness insurance. But we want to look at a proactive approach and help customers manage their health," he added.

As part of the pilot project during the Coronavirus outbreak, Bathwal explained that the insurer created a mental-health hotline in partnership with Neerja Birla's MPower. The latter is  a firm specialising in offering care and allied services for mental health.

"Here our customers could talk to specialists for all their mental health related problems. With the launch of our product with this coverage, we are hoping that our customers use it. Research also showed that if mental health issues like stress, anxiety and depression are addressed upfront, then allied health conditions can also be resolved," he said.

Health business growth to continue 

As of nine months ended December 31 (9MFY21), the total gross written premium of Aditya Birla Health stood at Rs 859 crore as against Rs 546 crore a year ago.

Bathwal said that this growth trajectory will continue, considering the rise in demand for health insurance in India especially after COVID-19.

When it comes to breakeven, Bathwal said that the company has given a set guidance.

"When it comes to quarterly profit, we are looking to post profit for the first time in Q4FY22. On a full-year basis, we are expecting to breakeven in FY23 (financial year 2022-23)," he added.

The combined ratio stood at 126 percent as of Q3FY21 compared to 142 percent a year-ago. A combined ratio below 100 percent indicates that an insurer is posting underwriting profits. By Q4FY22, the health insurer expects combined ratio to drop to below 100 percent.
M Saraswathy is a business journalist with 10 years of reporting experience. Based in Mumbai, she covers consumer durables, insurance, education and human resources beat for Moneycontrol.
first published: Mar 4, 2021 06:39 pm

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