The General Insurance Council (GIC) has reported that premium collections for general insurance policies, including motor and health, have gone up by close to 14% year on year, in the Financial Year (FY) 2015-16. The value for the total collection of premiums is pegged at Rs.96,402 crore, just marginally short of the Rs.1 lakh crore mark. This is the cumulative yearly figure till March 2016.
If one were to look at the March 2016 vs March 2015 month figures, there too there has been a significant upside. Data shows that premium collection in March 2016 was up 10.5% as opposed to that of the previous year. Among the insurance categories, Health Insurance seems to stand out. Premium collection for Health Insurance policies issued by standalone insurers was Rs.624 crore, up 39% year on year (yoy). This is not surprising given that March is typically the month when people rush to invest in Health Insurance for tax purposes.
However, what is surprising is that during FY2015-16, a significant amount of premium seems to have been collected under Health Insurance when compared to the previous year. Consider this: premium collections for standalone health insurers had gone up by 41% from Rs.2,942 crore in FY2014-15 to Rs.4,153 crore in FY2015-16.
The growth in premium collection seems to be almost the same for both private and public insurers. While premiums for private insurers have grown at 13% yoy, the figure stands at 12% for public insurers. The amount of premium collected was, however, higher for public insurers at Rs.47,717 crore as opposed to Rs.39,701 crore collected by private players.
|March||Cumulative upto March|
|2015-16||2014-15||Growth YoY||2015-16||2014-15||Growth YoY|
What does all this mean?
An increasing number of people have been opting for Motor and Health Insurance in the last couple of years. The importance of both cannot be undermined. While Motor Insurance is compulsory in India irrespective of whether you have a two wheeler or four wheeler, Health Insurance is voluntary. However, as seen from the above data, Health Insurance seems to be gaining prominence.
Why Health Insurance?
The most important reasons why you should look at Health Insurance for yourself and your family include:
- Increasing Medical Inflation In India – Today, a bypass surgery can cost you as much as Rs.5,00,000. At an inflation of 10%, this would cost you close to Rs.13 lakh in 10 years. A Health Insurance policy can help cover the cost of such treatments for you or any of your family members.
- Increase In Lifestyle Diseases In India – India has the second largest diabetes population in the world and the figure is pegged at a good 67 million people. Lifestyle diseases such as this, increase the risks of critical illnesses for which treatment expenses could be very high.
- Coping With Expenses During Hospitalisation – A single episode of hospitalisation can destabilise your family’s finances. When hospitalisation expenses are covered under Health Insurance, your savings can be used to meet household expenses when you are out of action.
- Increased Health Risks As You Grow Old – Contrary to popular perception, you need better health cover as you grow older. This is because incidents of illness increase as you cross milestones of 50, 60 and 70 years of age. There are Health Insurance policies specifically for senior citizens. However, the features need to be thoroughly looked at.
Tip: When opting for Health Insurance, ensure that you compare premiums across insurers. Apart from that, read reviews of the insurer (you can find them online!) and their claim-settlement ratio before you opt for the policy.