Thus far largely confined to life insurance alone, the LIC is gearing up to take on competition with a multi-pronged approach. Its LIC Health Plus, will give the policyholder the option to take health insurance cover for his immediate family — spouse and children.
The Corporation plans to target as many as ten million families in the first year of the new policy. Although it looks very ambitious, LIC has the advantage of a million-plus agents, says a confident Singh.
It is, however, yet to cement plans to set up a standalone health insurance company, said officials. Details of health products are yet to be disclosed, but LIC has indicated it is looking at a 'floater' plan where a sum insured could be shared by the family.
It is also said to be looking at a health policy on the unit linked platform with a savings element.
Reports say the health insurance segment is growing in India and hence more and more operators are pitching in.
Both non-life and life companies are keen on cashing in on the growing opportunities in the health insurance segment. They are on course to offer a slew of products, other than Mediclaim, to give more choice to consumers. Right now less than 3% of the population has a health insurance cover.
Whatever the expansion plans,senior citizens are taking a hit as insurance firms are shying away from them saying they are sustaining losses with their coverage of elders.
The Insurance Regulatory Development Authority (IRDA) has stepped in and directed all health insurers to cap the premium charged on the renewals of existing Mediclaim policies to soften the blow on senior citizens, said IRDA Chairman CS Rao.
Insurance companies have been debarred from hiking the premium by 50% compared to the previous year. Simply put, if the company had charged a premium of Rs 100, the premium cannot exceed Rs 150 at the time of renewals. The regulator plans to initiate action against insurers who do not adhere to this norm.
Perhaps sensing it opportunity, the LIC says it is also planning to launch a special senior citizen's health insurance policy too before long.