Covid-19 a great ad for health insurance, says ManipalCigna chief Sikdar - The Hindu BusinessLine

Covid-19 a great ad for health insurance, says ManipalCigna chief Sikdar

ManipalCigna Health Insurance Company Ltd (ManipalCigna), a standalone private health insurer, expects to maintain its growth momentum and clock at least 20 per cent growth in gross written premium (GWP) this fiscal despite the Covid-19 induced lockdown affecting business in the first two months, a top official said.
“Because of the expected increase in health insurance demand due to Covid-19, I am optimistic that growth will hold on for us and we will continue to grow like the last couple of years. To have a double digit growth in this kind of environment is not bad at all,” Praasun Sikdar, Managing Director & CEO, ManipalCigna, told BusinessLine in an interview.
He highlighted that the company was not changing its business growth aspirations due to the two months of lockdown.
In 2018-19, ManipalCigna’s GWP stood at about ₹577 crore, up 19 per cent over the previous year. In 2018-19, this health insurer had achieved GWP growth of 40 per cent.
Sikdar said that Covid-19 has been a great advertisement for health insurance and this has also significantly increased the awareness level among consumers on the growing medical inflation in the country.

“Post Covid-19, I see health claiming priority plot in the hierarchy of needs. If health insurance till recently were just a priority in people’s mind, clearly now there is a shift happening or will happen to move health insurance from a priority need to a necessity,” he added.

Digital tech-centred

Sikdar said that ManipalCigna is now focussed on how can the company use digital technology to better determine customers’ access problems.
Going forward, one can expect a slew of simple and easy to understand products coming into the market from the ManipalCigna inferior, he said.
“You will also see far more extensive cashless covers at a more affordable prices. There will be more simple bundled products that customers can buy on the go, digitally and from websites. You can also expect higher sum assured products. The guiding principles for us will be affordability, predictability and simplicity,” he said.
Asked if the company had settled Covid-19 claims, Sikdar said that the health insurer had till date settled 50 cases. For these cases, the average reported claim size is between ₹2-2.5 lakh.
The entire private insurance industry is estimated to have settled about 6,000 claims involving ₹80 crore as regards Covid-19 positive cases, according to Sikdar.

Co-payment clause

In a first-of-its-kind initiative, ManipalCigna had recently waived off the mandatory co-payment clause for senior citizens aged 65 years and above if they need treatment for Covid-19. This benefit will be available for its ProHealth customers till August 31, Sikdar said.

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