Health insurance portfolio posts growth of 20%

The health insurance segment has reported a growth of more than 20 per cent in premium collection for the third year in a row.

In 2017-18, general and health insurance companies collected Rs.37,029 crore as health insurance premium, registering a growth of 21.8 per cent over 2016-17, according to the latest annual report of IRDAI.

Group business accounted for 48 per cent (Rs.17,757 crore) of the premium, followed by individual segment at 41 per cent (Rs.15,291 crore), and government business at 11 per cent (Rs.3,981 crore).

During 2017-18, general and health insurance companies issued around 1.47 crore health insurance policies (excluding policies issued under personal accident and travel insurance), covering 48.20 crore lives, a growth of 10 per cent in the number of lives covered over the previous year.

Three-fourths of the lives covered were under government-sponsored health insurance schemes, and the balance one-fourth by group and individual policies issued by general and health insurers.

There is an also improvement in net incurred claims ratio (ICR) during FY 2017-18. This is observed in all three classes of businesses.

The four public sector general insurers held a combined market share at 58 per cent in 2017-18. However, their share declined from 63 per cent in 2016-17.

On the other hand, the share of private sector general insurers increased to 21 per cent in 2017-18 from 19 per cent in 2016-17, and the share of standalone health insurers in health insurance premium went up to 21 per cent from 18 per cent in 2016-17.

Standalone health insurers reported an increase in underwriting losses in 2017-18, which is Rs.436 crore, compared to an underwriting loss of Rs.261 crore in 2016-17.

Of the six standalone health insurers, three reported losses and three made profits in 2017-18. The three standalone health insurers that reported PAT include Apollo Munich, Max Bupa and Star Health. They reported PAT of Rs.15 crore, Rs.23 crore and Rs.170 crore, respectively, during 2017-18.