2018 proved to be a very important year for the insurance industry as it witnessed so many new trends and big developments during the year.
2018 proved to be a very important year for the insurance industry as it witnessed so many new trends and big developments during the year, apart from the introduction of some new types of policies. For instance, in term insurance, limited pay plans took off this year, while long-term third-party motor insurance was made mandatory by IRDAI.
Here’s a look at some of the key changes in the insurance industry in India in 2018:
# There are now health insurance policies that allow you to put the sum of money in your individual health wallets which is separate from the sum assured, i.e your insurance money, and can be used for OPD treatments. A person can earn interest on it and the same interest can be used to pay back the premium next year. For example, Apollo Munich Health Insurance – Health Wallet.
# Activity-based wellness plans were also the highlight of this year. With more Indians being prone to lifestyle diseases, the basic health insurance plans do not suffice the need as major healthcare expenses are still borne as out-of-pocket expenses and are self-funded.
“Activity-based wellness plans cater to the health needs of people where focus is on developing a healthier lifestyle with activities like health coaching where a person gets a discount on premium upon achieving his individual health scores and the same can thus be used or redeemed to gain benefits like easy access to OPD treatments, in-patient hospitalization etc. For example, Max – Go Active and Aditya Birla – Enhance,” says Vaidyanathan Ramani, Head-Product and Innovation, Policybazaar.com.
# Now there are critical illness plans in the market which work as an indemnity plan and pay reimbursement for the covered expenses up to specified limit just like regular health insurance plans. For example, Apollo Munich Health Insurance’s iCan and Religare Health Insurance’s Critical Mediclaim plan.
# Health insurance plans will now be more inclusive. For instance:
1. Mental illnesses to be included under health insurance plans on the same basis as for the treatment of physical illness;
2. Standardization of exclusions in health insurance policies, like there can only be 17 defined exclusions now;
3. Standardization of waiting period, ailments/illnesses to be covered after the purchase of the policy, etc.
# In investment-related plans, ULIPs witnessed a surge in demand as the plans today are much more transparent and reliable where charges like premium allocation charges and policy administration charges are typically zero. “Fund management charges range between 1 and 1.35% and are capped at 1.35% by IRDAI. For the life insurance part in ULIPs, a customer pays the mortality charges but some companies with their new-age plans like Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance-Goal Assure and Canara HSBC OBC-Invest 4G even provide the Return of Mortality Charges (ROMC) feature,” says Ramani.
# In term insurance plans, limited pay plans took off this year as it is observed that people have shifted towards paying for a lesser period of time and getting coverage for the longer term. Plans that feature pay term till 60 years and give coverage for 80-85 years saw traction from customers since people would want to end their liability till they earn and need to pay premiums from their pension money.
# In Motor Insurance, one of the biggest trends was making long-term third-party motor insurance mandatory for new cars and two-wheelers for 3 years and 5 years, respectively.
# Another big trend that motor insurance witnessed in the month of October was capping the Owner-Driver PA cover at Rs 15 lakh for both two-wheeler and car. The same was priced at a premium amount of Rs 750. However, “in the month of December, the regulator issued another circular stating that effective 1st January, one may replace it with the standalone PA cover on the expiry of the bundled CPA cover. Also, the same may be taken from any of the registered insurers in the general insurance business. Also, if you already have a PA, cover then you need not take it separately for another vehicle,” informs Ramani.