COVID 19 effect: Surge in health insurance policies

Early March there was a surge in enquiries and requests for health insurance policies with special coverage for COVID 19

BENGALURU: Even as India is seeing a spate of Coronavirus cases the health insurance sector has not witnessed even a single claim request but there has been huge demand for the health insurance both online and off line in the last one month.

Speaking to DC, Amit Chhabra, head -health insurance, policy says, "Early March there was a surge in enquiries and requests for health insurance policies with special coverage for COVID 19. Since India is on a lock down mode since March 22 the demand has multiplied for online health policies. Agents, banks and agencies are not offering off line policies. Hence, tell underwriting is picking up big time."

Following the tale underwriting, policies are issued based on a few questionnaire replies from the customer. A doctor would seek certain answers. The policies will be issued with a condition that if the answers received are not true then such policies will the cancelled.

"Meanwhile, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA), which regulates insurance companies in India has issued guidelines and has said that all health policies cover COVID 19 treatment expenses. It even covers costs incurred due to quarantine or isolation at hospital. Further, it has directed all insurance companies to expedite the claim process for Corona virus related cases. Fortunately, so far the government has taken care of costs and expenses for treating corona virus infected patients," said Chhabra.

Policy bazaar offers health insurance of various companies under one roof. Majority of customers need not undergo any medical tests. Only five per cent of the customers may have to approach diagnostic centres for some tests and the industry encourages people going for comprehensive medical policy, he adds.

"The policy bazaar is hoping that the 18 per cent GST will be either reduced or the Union finance ministry increases rebate on the health insurance schemes to encourage more people to take up health insurance policies. It is necessary that each individual has medical aim policies at times of pandemic," he added.

The policy bazaar has seen a surge of 30 per cent for health insurance with comprehensive coverage for corona virus related ailments, said Chhabra.

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