SINCE the start of the Covid pandemic in March 2020, insurance companies have received 25.64 lakh claims for Rs 31,624 crore from people affected by the virus, with hard-hit Maharashtra representing by far the largest number. The average claim is Rs 1.23 lakh per person and the average settlement is Rs 91,287.
As of Monday, the companies had settled 22.38 lakh claims worth Rs 20,430 crore, with the money going to the health sector. A total of 1.81 lakh claims for Rs 1.319 crore have been repudiated, according to figures compiled by the General Insurance Council. The figures also show a massive jump in the health portfolio of insurers.
While 8.47 lakh insurance claims were filed in Maharashtra for Rs 8,650 crore, it was followed by Gujarat (3.24 lakh claims for Rs 3,793 crore), Karnataka (2.53 lakh claims for Rs 2,712 crore) and Tamil Nadu (2.41 lakh claims for Rs 3,447 crore). Telangana reported the highest average claim per person of Rs 1.72 lakh while Arunachal Pradesh recorded the highest average claim settled per person of Rs 1.24 lakh.
In the five months ending August 21, the insurers’ health portfolio jumped 32.25 percent to Rs 30,192 crore, from Rs 22,830 crore in the same period a year ago. “The second wave of the pandemic was more severe than the first, causing greater uncertainty and fear among the masses. This has led to an increase in demand for health insurance, including group policies, as more and more employers have realized the need to cover their employees, ”said Vijay Kumar, CEO and Managing Director of Digit Insurance.
Retail health policies jumped 22.35% to Rs 9,566 crore and group policies rose 25.79% to Rs 11,903 crore during the April-August period.
Kumar added that most of the growth occurred in the first quarter compared to the same period last year. “We are seeing demand leveling off now that the second wave has stabilized,” Kumar said. However, insurers do not expect a sharp drop given the lingering fear of a third wave, aside from the general growth in awareness of insurance and its benefits. Despite the payments due to the surge in claims, insurers expect accelerated growth in the segment due to this. Health insurance premiums have been the main driver of the non-life insurance industry since the start of the pandemic.
“In India, structural growth has long been the main driver of health insurance business, with an unusually high share of out-of-pocket spending, a poor state of government health facilities and growing wealth among the masses,” notes one. Emkay Global Financial Services report. “The increase in the number of people (retail and group) opting for health insurance, the demand for better coverage among existing policyholders, the demand for short-term Covid-19 health coverage and the increase in costs claims pushing up prices have led to very strong premium growth, ”the report adds.
According to Care Ratings, premium growth for stand-alone health insurers has continued to be above the industry average for fiscal 22 so far.