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Oct 17 2011 12:34PM
Life insurers making room for themselves in health segment...

Life insurance companies are now selling their cover along with health insurance policies. They are encroaching into what was hitherto the domain of general insurance companies. Declining sales of ULIPs and pension products, which were earlier a major component of life insurance company s product portfolios, have forced them to look at other low ticket alternatives such as health insurance products. Rising medical costs and increased awareness have resulted in a surge for health insurance products. According to latest statistics released by the IRDA, total health insurance premiums written by non-life insurance companies and standalone health insurance companies grew by 20 per cent from Rs 2,937.73 crore to Rs 3,655.49 crore in the first quarter of FY2011 1 ,as compared to the same period in the previous financial year.But there is obviously room for more.And life insurers are trying to fill a gap left by the general insurance players. Insurance agents typically do not pitch health insurance products as they are low ticket products. So life insurers can use their existing vast distribution network, and offer another important product along with life insurance, said Mr Deepak Yohannan, CEO, MyInsuranceClub.com, a Web portal that analyses insurance products.That is something the industry has begun to do. Industry leader Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) had launched Jeevan Arogya in June, which is a new health insurance defined benefit policy.There is a huge market for health insurance and it is one of our focus segments. We have already sold more than 1 lakh policies of Jeevan Arogya, and we have a huge target, said Mr S. Roy Chowdhury, Executive Director (Marketing), Life Insurance Corporation of India .SBI Life Insurance Company has recently launched Hospital Cash a mass market oriented health insurance plan, which is the first product that it has made available online.We are making a conscious effort to enter the health insurance segment. We are filing newer products with more features by the end of this month, said Mr M.N. Rao, MD and CEO, SBI Life Insurance. IndiaFirst Life Insurance has entered the health insurance segment by launching a unit linked health insurance plan, with an inbuilt savings component. The insurer aims at getting 10 per cent of its total premium revenues from health insurance businesses in the next three years, said Mr P Nandagopal, MD and CEO, IndiaFirst Life Insurance. Experts feel that with more players now and health insurance portability, the insurance industry may witness tremendous innovation in the health insurance segment. Citing one such instance, Mr Yohannan says,The unique thing about Jeevan Arogya is that the family floater plan covers not just your spouse and children, but your parents and in-laws as well which general insurance companies don t.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
     
 
     
 
 
 
 
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