The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about huge awareness of health insurance, which the industry needs to take advantage of and tap according to speakers at a webinar on health insurance organised by business daily the Hindu BusinessLine last week.
The webinar theme was ‘Health Insurance: Is COVID-19 an inflection point?’ looked at the opportunities and challenges before health insurers from the current COVID-19 pandemic.

National Insurance Academy director G Srinivasan said that while awareness of health insurance has increased significantly over the past few months, conversion to actual subscriptions has been low.

“I would have really expected health insurance to grow by 100-200% during this period and feel it is the ideal time for the insurance sector to innovate,” he said.

He urged the industry to come up with simpler and more innovative products and to work at removing the trust deficit that might be a reason for the lower than expected sales currently witnessed by companies.

Star Health managing director Anand Roy said that health insurance was a push product until the pandemic struck and now awareness of health insurance has increased.” Today, everyone is aware of the benefits of health insurance and the regulator has also taken steps to make health insurance affordable and accessible to all,” he said.

HDFC Ergo president – accident and health Ravi Vishwanath said that pricing has to be right for health insurance products.

“Pricing responsibly and underwriting responsibly are critical for health insurance products. Pricing insurance is an art and a science and has to be backed by data, which is lacking in India,” he said.

Independent insurance sector expert K Nitya Kalyani said that individuals should decide on the quantum of health insurance cover based on age, heal health profile, lifestyle and tariff levels in hospitals for different treatments. “We should research the products and check the track record of the insurers and TPAs with regard to service, claim settlement and complaint redressal mechanism,” she said.

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