Faced with muted growth in premium and high Covid claims, general insurance companies are hopeful that lower number of non-Covid related health insurance claims as well as the falling Covid cases will help them improve their balance sheets.
According to data with the General Insurance Council, 8.03 lakh Covid related claims amounting to ₹12,184.09 crore were filed by January 11, 2021. Of this, 6.26 lakh cases worth ₹6,109.81 crore had been settled while 1.77 lakh claims are pending.
“Health claims are still under control and are being offset by lower number of non-Covid claims,” noted an executive with a general insurance company, pointing out that many people are still postponing elective surgeries.”
“Covid related claims were becoming a bit worrying for the industry. But since a large number of elective surgeries are getting postponed, it has helped to offset the loss. Otherwise, it would have gone beyond control but retail claims are still manageable,” he noted.
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According to industry estimates, about 15 per cent of Covid patients require hospitalisation and intensive medical care and file claims. The average claim amount is estimated at about ₹1.5 lakh.
“Typically natural catastrophes are built into projections but something like a pandemic is usually not factored in. Right now there is a decline in cases but the concern is about a second and third wave as is being seen in many European countries,” noted another insurer, adding that a large number of patients are also being advised home quarantine.
More clarity will be available in coming weeks as many of the listed general insurers start to report their third quarter results.
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Meanwhile, non-life insurers registered 2.7 per cent premium growth in November 2020 but there are concerns about softening in health insurance premium. According to GIC data, health insurance premium grew by 12.96 per cent between April and November this year.