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Expect more innovation in insurance this year

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Photo by: Priyanka Parashar/Mint
Photo by: Priyanka Parashar/Mint

The year 2016 saw a growing Indian consumer base that recognizes the value of health insurance to help stave off medical inflation and cover health care expenses for oneself and the family members. This was evident through the 35% rise in gross written premium (GWP) between April and November 2016, as compared to a year ago. A growing GWP in health insurance premium is aiding the growth of this segment but India still has a long way to go to ensure health coverage for every citizen.

One of the key developments in 2016 was that the insurance regulator introduced regulations for issuance of electronic policies and submission of electronic proposal forms of insurance policies. From technology adoption to enhancement of customer experience and to product innovation with an emphasis on wellness services, health insurers have been working towards more comprehensive offerings. Standardization and simplification endeavours by the regulator, innovations by insurers and in the light of the recent changes in the economy, 2017 promises to bring in an upward thrust to the industry.

Expectations from the regulator

The launch of a universal health insurance scheme is expected to take place in 2017 and result in a major boost in the penetration levels. Insurers are eagerly awaiting the execution of such a scheme.

Cyber security, data management, and an e-repository to distribute e-policies in order to go paperless, are some concerns that the insurance regulator has raised in recent times. I expect to see more regulations from the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (Irdai), to secure stricter data confidentiality. At the same time, I also foresee a faster adoption of digital practices as a result of demonetization. The potential changes in income tax norms could augment consolidation and growth of the sector.

Insurance tech

Technology-led disruptive ideas are essential in changing the face of businesses and can make a huge difference to health insurance companies as well.

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