Insurance Firms Use Health Plans to Grow Numbers
Products offering special cover for diseases like cancer doubled in 6 months Cost of Health
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