Coronavirus pandemic has acted a catalyst for increasing awareness about health insurance as sales of newly-launched Corona Kavach policy have risen to 200-300 policies per day, a top official of Max Bupa Health Insurance said.
For the insurer, growing awareness is translating into the purchase of policies across the country, Max Bupa Health Insurance MD and CEO Krishnan Ramachandran said.
“At Max Bupa, we have seen that Covid-19 has acted as a catalyst for awareness amongst people. The awareness of health insurance has grown manifold, more than what we have seen in the last 20 years in our industry. At Max Bupa, we have seen health insurance related queries increasing in the last couple of months,” Ramachandran told PTI in an interview.
He said the insurer is seeing this growing awareness translating into purchase of policies across the country, including tier II and III markets.
“Further, we are seeing innovations emerging to launch products that help customers face these unprecedented times. The awareness generated because of Covid-19 also led to the creation of a specific health cover Corona Kavach as mandated by IRDAI, which was launched in early July.
“The initial response for Corona Kavach plan has been encouraging and we are selling between 200-300 policies every day,” Ramachandran said.
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Besides, he said the company has recently launched ReAssure, which is a 100 per cent cashless product that offers unlimited sum insured. In this, customers can claim for any illness or any family member covered for as many numbers of times as they want, during a policy year.
On asked about how the coronavirus pandemic has changed the sales process, he said Covid-19 has created a unique opportunity for insurers to rethink and innovate as they adjust and respond to the new situation which is constantly evolving.
“The most important innovation is the digitization of processes for the industry. Insurance as an industry had to shift to digital mode of selling and digital mode of servicing as the new normal mandated no contact delivery.
“Max Bupa was well-prepared with intuitive and smart digital platforms much before Covid-19 hit the nation since nearly 90 per cent of our business is logged through our digital applications across all traditional channels as well,” the company executive said.
The digital solution allows the company to explain the policy on video calls, allowing doctors to do medical assessment on phone and issue the policy to customers and then people can buy the policy online within five minutes, he added.
The claim process has also been completely digitised and reimbursement approval is being provided to customers based on soft copies of bills, Ramachandran said.
“Our recent sales trends show that people are opting for comprehensive health covers that can guard them against Covid-19 and insure them against a host of other unforeseen illnesses.”
Citing a recent survey done by the health insurer, he said as many as 57 per cent of the people cited the need for comprehensive cover for unforeseen medical emergencies.
“There is also a demand for short-term Covid specific covers which is garnering favourable traction amongst millennials as 43 per cent of the buyers are in the age group of 18-30 years.
“And 85 per cent of the policies sold are Rs 5 lakh covers. Around 80 per cent of people have opted for policy of 9.5 months duration, 15 per cent customers have opted for 6.5 months period and 5 per cent have taken the policy for 3.5 months,” he said.
Ramachandran said as the pressure on health services rises, going forward, Max Bupa is likely to see a rise in tele-health services, offering consultancy to patients via phone or online video services.
This could have constructive long-term effects, helping healthcare reach more remote and less affluent populations including the under- or un-insured. Further, business done virtually will be the new normal, whether through digital channels or some of our more traditional channels becoming digitally enabled.
“We are also seeing that now customers are more comfortable transacting online. In the future, we should see a disproportionate growth in both assisted and unassisted buying on company owned websites and through aggregators,” said the official.