Religare Health Insurance, recently renamed as Care Health Insurance, expects similar or better growth in its gross written premium (GWP) in the current financial year compared to the last amid rising awareness of health protection following the Covid-19 outbreak.
In the last financial year, the company’s GWP had grown around 30% year on year (YoY) to Rs 2389 crore.
“Interest in health insurance has gone up for majority of the population. We see a lot of people coming to our website or calling up the call centres with a lot of queries. Some people are asking about their existing cover, some are asking about the new cover. In July, the industry growth has been significantly higher than what it had been in the previous year,” said Ashutosh Shrotriya, head-products & business process.
“I believe it is due to coronavirus, and the kind of fear factor around it. This conscious awareness will stay even after the Covid-19 starts depleting. The initial fear may go away, but the whole awareness for the preparedness to handle such eventuality will be there. And the demand for (personal) health insurance will only go up,” Shrotriya pointed out.
He said for the first couple of months following the Covid-19 outbreak, people had gone into panic mode. “From May-June onwards, people have really started approaching and asking for health insurance. From July, it has been 40% Y-o-Y growth in premium. I believe that this kind of trend will continue,” Shrotriya said.
“During 2019-20, the health insurance industry grew around 20% YoY, while our company clocked around 30% premium growth. We expect to register similar or higher growth in the financial year 2020-21,” Shrotriya told FE.
Last week, Religare Enterprises, in a stock exchange filing, said the name of its subsidiary Religare Health Insurance (RHICL) has been changed to “Care Health Insurance” with effect from August 19. RHICL commenced business in 2012.
According to Shrotriya, in India retail health insurance penetration is only 3% and out-of-pocket healthcare spending stands at around 65%.
Given the importance of health insurance in promoting better healthcare outcomes across the country, the company underscored the importance of leveraging this trend by apprising people about the far-reaching benefits of comprehensive health policies. “Moreover, against the backdrop of pandemic-induced income losses for a significant employed segment, the role of health insurance can be paramount in saving lives in the event of any healthcare crisis,” it added.