July 14, 2010

Reliance Life bets big on health cover

Anil Ambani-promoted Reliance Life Insurance is bullish on the growing health insurance market and expects to sell over a million policies this fiscal.

“There is a huge growth potential in the health insurance segment in India. We plan to tap the highly under-penetrated market to be among the top three insurers by 2012 and sell over one million policies this year,” president and executive director Malay Ghosh told The Telegraph.

At present, Reliance Life has a minimal presence in the segment, which is dominated by general insurance firms such as Bajaj Allianz, ICICI Lombard and Tata AIG, among private players.

According to a report by global research firm RNCOS, the health insurance market premium is expected to grow at a compounded annual rate of over 25 per cent between 2009-10 and 2013-14. Premium collections touched $1.31 billion in 2008-09, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) said in its annual report of 2008-09.

Reliance Life, which crossed the 60-lakh mark in total policy sales last month, plans to strengthen its portfolio with innovative products that include total reimbursable health expenses, individual and family floater on both group and individual product platforms, and long-term care.

On the recent withdrawal of cashless facility by many insurers, the company said it would seek certain clarifications from the IRDA before taking any action.

Industry experts said although the health insurance market expanded rapidly in the past couple of years, it remained largely under-penetrated. “Some of the critical shortcomings include low awareness, non-coverage of out-patient care and existing diseases, inefficient cost management, product reach in rural areas and weak retail distribution model,” stated the RNCOS report.

“Apart from a strong product line, quality customer service, reach and training are what creates a highly differentiated product,” Ghosh said.

The company aims to break even by the end of this fiscal.

Link: Original Article

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