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Oct 18 2011 11:28AM
Bharti AXA General Insurance: “Critical illness product helps to make health insurance comprehensive”

Bharti AXA launched its SmartHealth critical illness product a few months ago which covers 20 critical illnesses at a reasonable premium. The company has also filed an application with IRDA for allowing a mediclaim product with lifelong renewal.Subrahmanyam B, vice president & head, health vertical, commercial lines & risk engineering, Bharti AXA General Insurance, talks about his company’s current and future prospects . Moneylife: The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) circular asks insurers not to reject claims mechanically. What do you feel? Subrahmanyam B: Cashless is never a problem for customers. We come to know from the third-party administrator (TPA). Customers will not have to worry about it. It takes a maximum of two to three hours for approval in 95% of the cases, unless it is a complicated case. For reimbursement claims we allow claims filing within 30 days of discharge from hospital. We allow one week for intimation of hospitalisation. If there are genuine reasons for the delay, we are prepared to condone (the same). We take a sympathetic view of the situation based on its merit. ML: You have been promoting Smart Health critical illness product (even with TV advertisements). Why the blitz? SB: Major illnesses like heart attack, cancer are happening at young ages of 35-40 years. It can be due to changes in lifestyle and increasing stress levels. Critical illness product can be offered on top of the standard mediclaim to deliver comprehensive health insurance. It helps to reimburse customers for expenses not covered by mediclaim. Smart Health critical illness covering 20 illnesses offers two options to be decided at the start of policy. One is indemnity of expenses for the illness and other is fixed lump-sum benefit. ML: Bharti AXA Life recently came out with innovative triple benefit critical illness product. Will it compete with your product? SB: Life insurance has 5%-10% (relatively small percentage) of its business in health products. It can be competition to some extent. I have not gone through the details it may be complimentary to our product. Our agents are experienced with health products. It should not erode our revenues. ML: Is there an attempt to explore synergies with Bharti AXA Life? SB: Bharti AXA Life has been in business two to three years before us and has more branches. We have 145 points of presence in 115 locations across the country. We do share some offices, but not the office staff. We want to collaborate more in the future. Agents need a composite license to sell both life and general insurance products. Bharti AXA Life will have a good database of life insured to whom we can sell health, motor or home insurance, we have lot of customer information on motor and health insured which can help them to sell life insurance products. ML: Why do less number of agents have composite licences? SB: Getting a composite licence is not very tough. Agents may not dabble in both as it will take lot of their time. Some may want to focus on one or the other. ML: You have filed for lifelong mediclaim. Do you offer any other product like top-up mediclaim? SB: We have a product called SmartHealth High Deductibles Insurance Policy which is a variation of a top-up policy. The benefit kicks in after a deductible threshold. Customers may have retail or group policy mediclaim. They can buy this policy with basic sum assured as deductible. The original policy responds first; this policy pays for expenses over the deductible amount. The product has low premium. ML: Can you give us details of the new products in the pipeline? SB: We will have an international health product which will have coverage abroad. Many Indians are spending few months of the year abroad and want cover in India as well as overseas. Another innovative product will be a retirement health product. It is difficult to get proper mediclaim cover above age 60 at a reasonable price. Many have group cover at work and think about individual mediclaim only when they are close to retirement. It is at a time when earning capacity is down and mediclaim (for senior citizen) has sub-limits, restrictions, and low sum insured at much higher annual premium. This product is targeted at individuals to pay the premium during working life, but the major benefit will kick in after retirement. There is a savings fund; the product is a variant of wealth management. There will be some cover during the working life which will be an add on to the mediclaim (group or individual). The policy will continue after retirement at a low premium. The savings fund will be used to pay for any major expenses and provide a decent sum insured, post retirement. It is easier for an individual to pay the premium during his working life than paying post retirement.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
     
 
     
 
 
 
 
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