With the regulator IRDAI hinting at allowing life insurers to enter the lucrative health segment, the industry led by the leader LIC and its large private sector peers are keen to have a second go in the indemnity-based health space.
The life sector players such as LIC, private players like ICICI Prudential Life, HDFC Life, and Bajaj Allianz Life, among others, are unanimous in saying that all of them were offering health insurance before the sectoral regulator Irdai in 2016 abruptly asked them to stop selling new pure-play mediclaim health insurance policies. And so there is nothing that prevents them from re-entering the segment. Also, all of them continue to offer non-indemnity-based health policies even now.
When contacted, Life Insurance Corporation said, they are actively reviewing the proposal from the regulator as health is closely aligned to their core business of life insurance and that there is nothing new in it for them as they have been in it for decades and also continue to offer a host of non-indemnity products.
“We’re already offering a lot of long-term health protection and guaranteed health products. We are evaluating the suggestion that the regulator has made,” Chairman MT Kumar said. He further said he does not think it will be difficult for them to offer pure-play health policies as they are already offering some of the health products in the fixed benefits segments.
Mediclaim policies, which are indemnity-based health plans and are annually renewed or sold with one-year validity are the best-selling health plans in the country. However, in 2016 the Irdai asked life insurers to stop hawking such plans. Life insurers since then have been allowed to offer only fixed benefit health plans.