Money & Banking

Insurers have paid ₹7,500 crore so far towards Covid claims

G Naga Sridhar Hyderabad | Updated on February 27, 2021

The conversation on insurance has changed from “do I need health insurance” to “how much do I need?” istockphoto   -  ajaykampani

Role of insurance has moved from priority to necessity, say industry people

General and health insurers have so far paid Covid-19-related claims worth ₹7,500 crore. There has been a slowdown in the demand for corona-specific cover these days while at the same time the health insurance segment is also witnessing a greater demand for regular health insurance, according to industry experts.

“The industry saw high demand for corona-specific policies in September-November period but now people are looking beyond Covid cover,” Sanjay Datta, Chief-Underwriting, Claims and Reinsurance, ICICI Lombard GIC, told BusinessLine.

In June last year, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDAI) had asked general and health insurers to offer a standard corona cover policy, Corona Kavach, with the sum assured ranging from ₹50,000 to ₹5 lakh. The policy period is from three-and-a-half months to nine-and-a-half months.

Citing industry estimates, Datta said the total claims that have been paid so far on account of corona cover policies were to the tune of ₹7,500 crore. “For this financial year, it could be ₹8,000-9,000 crore out of which ₹7,500 crore has already been paid,” he said.

While the corona-specific policies were short-term policies, they had created a greater awareness on the need for long-term and regular health insurance, Datta said, adding: “Overall, they have created large-scale awareness among general public.”

Prasun Sikdar, MD and CEO, Manipal Cigna Health Insurance Company Ltd, said given the gravity of the Covid pandemic and the panic surrounding it, more than ever before, people are now concerned about their health and that of their families.

“In the hierarchy of needs, health today has claimed primary position and the role of insurance has moved from priority to necessity,” he said.

Post the pandemic, the conversation on insurance has finally changed from “do I need health insurance” to “how much do I need”, Sikdar observed.

Profit or loss?

What will be the final impact of corona on the bottom line of insurers? It may take more time to answer this question.

According to the CEO of a major non-life insurance company, an understanding of the net impact of Covid on the business of general insurers may differ from company to company.

“As of now, we can say that health insurance business has certainly got a boost and it has overtaken motor segment. But the real picture will only come out with full-year numbers,” he added.

Published on February 27, 2021

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