In­sur­ance Firms Use Health Plans to Grow Num­bers

Prod­ucts of­fer­ing spe­cial cover for dis­eases like can­cer dou­bled in 6 months Cost of Health

The Economic Times - - Finance & Commodities - Shilpy.Sinha@ times­

Mum­bai: Life in­sur­ance com­pa­nies have latched on to health as the fastest way to grow. In the past six months, the num­ber of prod­ucts that of­fer spe­cial cover for heart disease and can­cer treat­ment have more than dou­bled.

Re­cently, three com­pa­nies in­clud­ing ICICI Pru­den­tial Life, Birla SunLife and Aviva Life have launched health in­sur­ance prod­ucts cater­ing to spe­cific ill­ness.

ICICI Pru­den­tial Life’s ICICI Pru Heart/Can­cer Pro­tect, for in­stance, pays part of the in­sur­ance cover to the cus­tomer on di­ag­no­sis of a heart ail­ment or can­cer. Cus­tomers can choose the type of cover, ei­ther for heart or can­cer, or have the op­tion to pur­chase both.

“Health in­sur­ance forms a small part of our pre­mium in­come as of now,” said Puneet Nanda, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, ICICI Pru­den­tial Life In­sur­ance.

“We ex­pect growth rate for pro­tec­tion to be higher and are fo­cus­ing on grow­ing the over­all pro­tec­tion seg­ment.” Health in­sur­ance makes up around 25% of the gen­eral in­sur­ance in­dus­try while it is less than 5% of the life in­sur­ance in­dus­try. Heart ail­ments and can­cer to­gether ac­count for over 50% of health prob­lems among In­di­ans, said Nanda.

Sim­i­larly, Birla SunLife’s Cri­tiShield Plan of­fers three types of benefits: car­diac ben­e­fit, re­nal ben­e­fit and com­pre­hen­sive ben­e­fit. In cases of both (car­diac and re­nal), at the di­ag­no­sis of an early stage car­diac or re­nal con­di­tion, 30% of the sum as­sured will be paid to the life in­sured, and at the di­ag­no­sis of a ma­jor stage car­diac or re­nal con­di­tion, 100% of the sum as­sured is paid.

Aviva’s Heart Care prod­uct pro­vides cov­er­age against 19 mild, mod­er­ate and se­vere car­dio­vas­cu­lar con­di­tions, and pro­ce­dures and al­lows lump sum pay­out ir­re­spec­tive of the treat­ment cost.

“In­di­ans are prone to heart ail­ments due to mul­ti­ple fac­tors in­clud­ing ge­net­ics, un­healthy diet, seden­tary life­style, stress etc,


mak­ing it the Car­dio Vas­cu­lar Disease cap­i­tal of the world,” Aviva stated in a re­port.

Ac­cord­ing to re­ports, heart at­tacks and chronic kid­ney disease com­prises the top-10 causes of death in In­dia. Med­i­cal re­search shows that In­dia has the high­est rate of car­diac ar­rests in the world with around 2 lakh heart surg­eries con­ducted ev­ery year. Can­cer cases are ex­pected to rise by 25% by 2020. Ev­ery 13 new can­cer pa­tient is from In­dia, show ICICI Pru­den­tial data.

“Peo­ple are buy­ing prod­ucts for ill­nesses that are dis­com­fort­ing to them,” said San­jay Datta, head of un­der­writ­ing, ICICI Lom­bard Gen­eral In­sur­ance. “There are prod­ucts cov­er­ing sev­eral crit­i­cal ill­nesses for years but now com­pa­nies are launch­ing sin­gle crit­i­cal ill­ness prod­ucts as well.”

While cost of treat­ing a heart at­tack can cost be­tween .₹ 2.8 and .₹ 10 lakh, the ex­penses for a kid­ney trans­plant can be .₹ 4.2-.`6.9 lakh, states a Birla Sun Life re­port.

Ac­cord­ing to re­ports, heart at­tacks and chronic kid­ney disease com­prises the top-10 causes of death in In­dia

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