Money & Banking

General insurers see Covid claims rise amid surging cases

Surabhi Mumbai | Updated on April 14, 2021

Triggers rethink among players on premium repricing

Covid-related health insurance claims are rising for general and standalone health insurers, amid a surge in infections. Some players are now thinking of increasing the premium to meet the demand.

“The number of claims is increasing very rapidly as Covid infections rise. Claims are very high and are affecting the industry badly,” said MN Sarma, Secretary General, industry body General Insurance Council, adding that some hospitals continue to charge high fees for treatment.

According to GIC data, as many as 10.26-lakh Covid-related claims worth ₹14,849.53 crore were filed as on April 12 this year. Of this, 8.81-lakh claims amounting to ₹8,029.33 crore have already been settled.

“Claims are increasing. We are getting numbers like in August and September last year. The important thing is that there are more defined protocols for home isolation and hospitalisation,” said Anand Roy, Managing Director, Star Health and Allied Insurance.

The insurer has been getting 600-700 Covid-specific claims a day of late, which had fallen to 100 to 150 a day in December and January, he said. The insurer paid out 1.31-lakh Covid claims last year amounting to ₹1,326 crore.

Roy said Star Health is evaluating and may go for repricing premium depending on how the second wave pans out. The insurer did not go for re-pricing last year when a number of insurers increased premium for health cover.

Bhabatosh Mishra, Director, Underwriting, Claims and Product, Max Bupa Health Insurance, said Covid claims dented the insurer’s loss ratios during the first wave itself.

Cashless claims double

“At Max Bupa, in the last seven days, Covid claims in the form of “cashless claims” have more than doubled and are rising at a very fast pace. Initially, in the second wave, the number of Covid claims did not match the number of cases. But now, the pace at which the cases are increasing is fast catching up with the trends seen in the first wave,” he said.

Covid infections have seen a sharp surge in recent weeks, overtaking the peak of last year. However, some insurers are still on a wait-and-watch mode.

“Yes, there has been a rise in Covid claims, but it being one time may not result in price increase for many companies,” said Rakesh Jain, ED and CEO, Reliance General Insurance.

Published on April 14, 2021

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