The pandemic has led to digital acceleration and social distancing is making customers adapt to online purchase and service.
People are proactively looking to increase their coverage and comprehensive health insurance has become a necessity, along with EMI and loss of pay cover which are some of the health emergency covers that might come up as we move forward, says Priya Deshmukh Gilbile, chief operating officer, ManipalCigna Health Insurance in an interview to Saikat Neogi. Excerpts:
With Covid-19 pandemic, are people increasingly looking at a comprehensive health insurance plan?
Against the Covid-19 backdrop, priorities have changed completely as consumers are more concerned about job loss, recession, financial security as well as health and well-being. Over the last several months, there is an increase in awareness among consumers about buying health insurance policies. Health insurance is a living benefit product and there is a shift happening in the mindset of the consumers. In the hierarchy of needs, health has claimed a primary position. People are proactively looking to increase their coverage and comprehensive health insurance has become a necessity, along with EMI and loss of pay cover which are some of the health emergency covers that might come up as we move forward. While family floater was a great thing at that point of time, in today’s environment comprehensive individual cover with higher sum insured and Super Top Up is more relevant.
Do you see a preference for online purchase of health insurance? How can they buy the right product online?
The pandemic has led to digital acceleration and social distancing is making customers adapt to online purchase and service. Agents and other distribution teams are also adopting digital methods of marketing, sales and service. This has presented an opportunity for change of business models, from traditional face-to-face to phygital models. More informed customers are expected to buy online and customisation of products with co-creation facility with smooth customer onboarding and servicing can help drive penetration.
Before buying the right insurance product, it is important to assess the size of cover needed, and choose a plan after considering what is covered, not covered, exclusion, specific waiting period, PED condition. Besides, look for inflation adjusted Sum Insured, disease-wise sub limits, room rent and ICU sub limits, restoration benefits, ease of claim process (cashless & reimbursement). And lastly, additional benefits such as cumulative bonus booster, rewards for a healthy lifestyle amongst several others.
What kind of innovation is required in health insurance?
We have to re-imagine to make health insurance relevant for the customer yet sustainable. We will also need to ensure that we continue to drive affordability, predictability and simplicity in health insurance by focusing on; making it affordable —value-based affordability and not always price-based; making it predictable—take surprise out of the system during the time of claims, digitalise claims to drive transparency and help people make informed health care choices. And finally making it easier for the people to get the quality health care they need, make products simple to understand yet be comprehensive as per the customers evolving needs.
How would the WeCare infectious disease management programme help your policyholders?
Keeping in line with our commitment of doing more for customers in times of illness and wellness, we launched ‘WeCare’, a holistic Infectious Disease Management programme. The primary purpose is to help protect our customers’ health from common infectious diseases and ensure they have access to a knowledge series regarding what is best for their health, when it comes to preparing for and combating a host of infectious diseases. There is a 24×7 doctor helpline for any infectious diseases such as fever, flu, diarrhoea and others with doctor home visits based on our expert advice. Further, to help customers better understand the state of their health, regular detailed tele-follow-ups are done to check on a patient’s condition, offer advice and provide assistance in hospitalisation if required.