Insurers urged to launch standardised health products amid COVID-19

Subhash C. Khuntia, chairman, Insurance Regulatory Development Authority of India, said this would create trust in the minds of policy-holders and reduce disputes related to claim settlements

Subhash C. Khuntia, chairman, Insurance Regulatory Development Authority of India (IRDAI) urged health insurers to come out with standardised products for COVID-19, which would create trust in the minds of policy-holders and reduce disputes related to claim settlements.

Speaking at the Confederation of Indian Industry Southern Region Health Insurance Virtual Conclave on Friday, he pointed out that IRDAI had, last month, mandated insurers to launch a standard product called Corona Kavach Policy and so far over 4.5 lakh people have been covered since July 10-July 31.

Mr. Khuntia pointed out that the availability of multiple health insurance products often confuses the public and they don’t have enough time to choose the right product. He said that in times of a pandemic, a standardised product would be very useful and would create trust in the minds of policy-holders and result in fewer disputes during claim settlements.

“A standardised product is like a fixed deposit offered by banks, which everyone is aware about when compared to a specialised saving products. The standardised product would not affect the revenue of insurers, but would enhance it,” Mr. Khuntia said. He told the health insurers that they don’t compete amongst themselves only on product pricing, but also factors such as efficiency in claims settlement and grievance redressal.

Mr. Khuntia said so far, 70,000 COVID-19 related health insurance claims have been settled for about ₹700 crore and many more claims are coming in. He also urged health insurance companies and healthcare providers to help policyholders, as there were complaints about not getting admissions in hospitals during the initial outbreak of the pandemic and hoped the situation would ease now.

Mr. Khuntia also pointed out that the response to the IRDAI directive to get healthcare providers to register with the Registry of Hospitals in Network of Insurers (ROHINI) portal has been slow and a one-year extension in deadline has been granted. He urged the industry to ensure compliance, which would help in ensuring transparency in their functioning.

Mr. Khuntia also called for the launch of disease-specific policies and also for combining wellness with health insurance.

Delivering his keynote address, Prathap C. Reddy, chairman, Apollo Hospitals Group, said an effective vaccine is needed to control the spread of COVID-19. He also warned that post COVID-19, one of the biggest challenges that India will face is handling non-communicable diseases, where it is estimated that 80% of the deaths would happen.

Mr. Reddy urged the industry to gear up to handle the challenge from non-communicable diseases.

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