Health cover sales up in rural areas

Sale of health insurance policies in semi-urban and rural markets is increasing with private insurers seeing a spike in the number of people opting for such covers. Rising cost of healthcare services, demand from the micro-insurance segment and post-Covid awareness are cited as major reasons.

Kotak Mahindra General Insurance has more than doubled its rural policies from 13% in FY20 to 32% till September of the current financial year (FY23). During the same period, the number of lives covered also rose to 25% from 11%. The general insurer’s senior executive VP & chief technical officer N Ravichandran said, “ This can be attributed to the right product fitment and robust demand from the micro-insurance segment,” he said.

Niva Bupa Health Insurance, with a coverage of over 11.6 lakh policies as of November 2022, saw growth of over 160% in the number policies since December 2019. Currently, 7% of its policies are in rural areas. In light of increasing awareness post-pandemic and demand for health insurance, the company is expanding its footprint in smaller towns. Director & chief actuary Vishwanath said people have realised the importance of access to quality treatment without financial burden. “Also, the rising cost of healthcare services and overall medical inflation in the country have further made health insurance an absolute necessity,” he added.

Star Health and Allied Insurance CMD V Jagannathan said the desire to take insurance in the rural sector is increasing since the pandemic. The leading standalone health insurer has over 23% of its share of policies and lives covered from the rural segment.

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