Insurers have so far settled claims worth ₹20,859 crore related to Covid-19. According to the latest data available with the industry, the settlement ratio stood at 88 per cent as on October 13, for ₹20,859.4 crore. Of the total claims of 25,96,072, 22,84,429 have been settled by insurers.

Insurers, however, are now seeing a dip in demand for Covid-specific policies. “We find that the demand for health cover is now shifting towards non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and critical illnesses,” Sanjay Datta, Head - Underwriting & Claims, ICICI Lombard General Insurance Company, told BusinessLine .

Third wave

Till recently, there was good demand for standard Covid-specific insurance policies, Corona Kavach and Corona Rakshak, to be offered by all insurers as mandated by the insurance regulator. In the wake of concerns over possible third wave of the pandemic, the insurance regulator has extended the validity of the Covid-specific policies till March 31, 2022, from the previously notified deadline of September 2021.

However, the steady dip in new Covid cases and a notion that a third wave is unlikely are spurring people to think of buying cover for NCDs, critical illnesses and co-morbidities instead of Covid-related insurance.

“The demand levels for health insurance for non-Covid ailments has now reached pre-Covid levels and, in some cases, it has even exceeded previous levels,” said Datta. The pandemic and the turmoil it caused had actually increased awareness about the need for health cover as a main tool of social security, he added.

According to Sapna Desai, Head Marketing and Online sales, ManipalCigna Health Insurance, many people today are buying health insurance policies that provide value-based high sum insured to tackle the problem of medical inflation.

“The focus is on policies that give them no-compromise comprehensive cover at the best healthcare facilities, both in India and abroad, at a very affordable premium,” she added.

Going forward, the industry expects to see a fast-growing trend of innovatively designed feature-rich products, with lots of in-built benefits and optional packages that can be customised to secure not only the current healthcare needs but also the ones that may arise at different stages of one’s lifetime, she added.