Money & Banking

To provide health and life cover, insurers offer ‘unique’ facilities for medical tests

Surabhi Mumbai | Updated on December 14, 2020

Insurers are coming up with unique solutions for customers who wish to purchase high-ticket health and life insurance policies but are worried about getting medical tests amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

“People want to buy insurance policies with higher sum insured, given the uncertainties of the pandemic and high medical costs, but often the need for medical tests proves to be a dampener,” said an insurance executive who did not wish to be named.

Video underwriting

Telephonic and video underwriting and home visits are proving to be the top choice for insurers in this scenario.

“We are focussing on home visits and tele and video medical examination and underwriting,” said Nikhil Apte, Chief Product Officer, Royal Sundaram General Insurance, adding that customers are referred to test centres only if they require a treadmill test, depending on their sum insured, and also to use facilities such as 2D echo and ECGs.

Video medical underwriting is conducted by a doctor, who can consult with the proposer through a video call. This allows them to get a good understanding of the patient’s health condition.

The average sum insured for medical policies at the insurer was less than ₹5 lakh, which has now increased to over ₹5 lakh. Customers are also buying plans with sum insured of ₹15 lakh to ₹20 lakh, said Apte.

Royal Sundaram General Insurance has also relaxed its requirement for medical underwriting to some extent.

Medical underwriting was earlier required for potential customers who had a major health issue, were older than 46 years, or their sum insured was more than ₹10 lakh.

“We have relaxed this now, so that up to ₹10 lakh and 50 years of age no medical underwriting is required, unless the proposer has a major ailment. This has reduced the number of tests,”Apte explained, adding that they rely heavily on tele underwriting.

They have also done about 800 video medical examination and underwriting in the last four months.

Similarly, life insurers, too, have introduced new facilities for health tests for high value term insurance policies. These tests are typically needed for policies over ₹1 crore.

V Viswanand, Deputy Managing Director, Max Life Insurance, said the insurer does about two-thirds of medical tests conducted at home. “We send a paramedic and a doctor to do medicals at home,” he said.

As part of customer education, the insurer has also uploaded videos on medicals tests and the precautions taken. “There are the most watched video on our website,” he said, adding that the insurer has done over 1 lakh medical tests by early October, and it was nearly the double of the number of medical tests last year.

Published on December 14, 2020

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