Medical insurance premiums witnessed a substantial spike in February with the overall growth in the healthcare industry rising aggressively by 42 percent year-on-year( YOY). This has been the highest in over 13 months when contrasted with a year-to-date (YTD) run-rate of 17 percent, reported the Times of India.
According to Kotak analysts, The retail health insurance policies had maintained strong momentum in February with 15 percent YoY growth. The group health business had increased by 19 percent YoY. The businesses of state-owned insurance companies also saw a sharp increase of 67 percent. United India was up by 147 percent YoY while Oriental was up by 86 percent YoY, these two insurers are currently the state-owned growth leaders. These companies had captured market share from private insurers and standalone players.
Future Generali India Insurance COO Sheeraj Deshpande spoke to the daily and said, "On retail health premium underwritten, we have seen about 24 percent growth in February, which has gone up to 29 percent in March. On overall growth in the health business, we have seen 38 percent growth as of March compared to the previous year."
Deshpande also said that the industry didn't witness any panic buying caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, he did say that enquiries for health insurance have seen a sudden rise of 15-20 percent.
Sanjay Datta, Chief of Underwriting, Claims, and Reinsurance at ICICI Lombard said, "We call it the JFM phenomenon (The months of January, February and March are periods which witnesses policy renewal for tax benefits, this is known as JFM phenomenon). There is no other specific reason that I see for February growth rising." He also said that there was also a sharp increase in enquiries for health insurance in March. ICICI Lombard had introduced a separate policy for COVID-19 last week.
Tata AIG General Insurance has seen an increase in the sale of its retail indemnity health policies by 85 percent in February on a YoY base. "Our portfolio was also not very big, however, we have seen a sharp rise in underwriting health premium, which was possible only through our agency network," said Tata AIG General Insurance Head and Executive Vice-President Parag Ved.