Growth in health insurance segment slows down as fear of Covid-19 reduces

The growth in the health insurance segment of non-life insurers appears to be slowing as the fear of Covid subsides.

“The initial euphoria for health products during the Covid period is dying down now because that was knee-jerk reaction to buy insurance immediately looking at the hospital cost for Covid,” said Gurdeep Singh Batra, head – retail underwriting, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance.

Within health insurance, it was the retail segment that recorded impressive growth. In the April-November period of financial year 2020-21 (FY21), general insurers recorded a 20 per cent growth in retail over the past year, and standalone health insurers saw 44.25 per cent growth, with the industry growing over 30 per cent.

However, the government health and foreign medical portfolios have seen massive contraction. As a result, the health segment of the general insurance industry has grown just 13 per cent, with general insurers seeing eight per cent growth and standalone insurers 28 per cent growth.

“Despite Covid, we have not seen adequate growth in the health insurance segment. This could possibly be because many people lost their employment, hence, they may not have enough income sources to pay insurance premiums,” said MN Sarma, secretary general, General Insurance Council.

“There was a substantial growth in the segment at the onset of Covid, largely driven by fear. As time went by, the fear diminished. People bought covers that were entry-level products and not comprehensive health insurance products,” said Bhabatosh Mishra, director – claims, underwriting, and product, Max Bupa Health Insurance.

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