Standalone health insurance firm Max Bupa Health Insurance is looking to expand presence in Tier 3, 4 regions in India over the next two years. In an interaction with Moneycontrol, Krishnan Ramachandran, MD & CEO of the company said the insurer wants to aggressively expand into 'Bharat'.
"As a company, our aim is to move to Bharat (rural, semi-urban areas). We have added 100 offices so far this year. The ambition is to grow it three times over the next 18-24 months," he added.
Ramachandran said that apart from the agency channel, the idea is also to grow distribution through the bancassurance channel (bank-branch led insurance sales) so that varied customer segments can be targeted. The insurer caters to customers across 25,000 bank branches in the country.
Coronavirus impact on business
Ramachandran said the COVID-19 outbreak has led to a rise in awareness for the business.
As of October 2020 (between April 1 to October 31), Max Bupa Health saw a 36.5 percent year-on-year (YoY) growth in gross direct premium to Rs 850.68 crore. He added that the retail business here has seen growth in excess of 50 percent.
However, COVID-19 claims have also started flowing in. As of October 2020, Ramachandran said Max Bupa has paid close to 7,500 claims exceeding Rs 75 crore.
"It is a pandemic and is a cause of concern. But if you take the macro view, over the 3-5 years this will help increase awareness for insurance. This will be a positive enabler for the industry," he added.
Ramachandran said products like ReAssure have helped the company in its growth trajectory. The health insurer had launched this product in August 2020 as a comprehensive health insurance plan that will allow multiple claims in a single year.
He said in some of their distribution channels, 50-60 percent of the new customers acquired have been for this product.
"This worked as a blockbuster product for us since it has benefits for customers including rewards to stay healthy (including walking certain number of steps a day)," he said.
The product comes with a ‘Booster Benefit’ that doubles the sum insured in just two claim-free years. If no claim was made during the year, then for the next year the sum insured will increase by 50 percent. If in the second year also there is no claim, then there will be another 50 percent increase in sum insured which amounts to a total 100 percent increase in sum insured in just two years.