With the COVID-19 pandemic further highlighting the need for health insurance particularly in emerging markets, personal accident and health (PA&H) insurance written premiums in the Asia-Pacific region is forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.1% year-on-year during 2019-2023.
According to a report from GlobalData, public healthcare institutions in emerging markets have struggled with a surge in demand, compelling individuals to seek private insurance for faster treatment.
In India, the pandemic is said to have led awareness and the introduction of new products helped retail health insurance register 43% year-on-year growth as of June 2020. The insurance regulator also directed local insurers to provide COVID-19 specific standard policies.
“The disparity in the healthcare delivery standards between developed and emerging markets of the region has accelerated the demand for private insurance during the last five years, with the industry recording a CAGR of 15.5%. Improved standard of living, medical inflation, expanding private health care and the entry of foreign insurers are some factors contributing to the growth,” said GlobalData insurance analyst Manisha Varma
She also noted that during the last five years, digitalisation and launch of disease-specific insurance products helped insurers expand the value proposition. Major digitalisation initiatives in the Asia-Pacific region include the use of wearable gadgets in the underwriting process and app-based medical consultation services.
The pandemic is said to have provided a further impetus to the use of online consultation as social distancing limited physical visits to the healthcare centres, emerging as an increasingly integral feature in health policies.
In January 2020, the number of new users on the Chinese digital health consultation platform Ping An Good Doctor increased by nearly 900% and Singapore-based telemedicine platform MyDoc witnessed a 60% rise in active users in February.
“PA&H insurance is expected to see major developments as short-term accident covers, critical illness, disease-specific products become more mainstream. Furthermore, technology-savvy middle class emerging markets and ageing population in mature markets will support the business growth over the next few years,” said Ms Verma.