Over 15 lakh people covered under specialised COVID-19 policies: Irdai chief

Corona Kavach is a reimbursement-based policy, while Corona Rakshak is a fixed benefit cover against COVID-19.

Need for demand-based insurance schemes has grown post the coronavirus pandemic, with more than 15 lakh people already being covered under the recently launched specialised COVID-19 policies, Irdai Chairman Subhash C. Khuntia said on Thursday.

Insurers must come to the rescue of the policyholders during these difficult times, he added.

After watching the industry for some time, Irdai was compelled to come out with standard coronavirus policies — Corona Kavach and Corona Rakshak, Mr. Khuntia said.

He was speaking at industry chamber Ficci’s annual insurance conference ‘FINCON 2020: India Insurance in the post-COVID World’, that took place virtually.

“We must understand that in difficult times, insurance companies have to come to the rescue of the policyholders. It is the changing needs of the customers that we need to assess carefully, and we have to cater to that. I am happy that all of you have collaborated in bringing out these products and we have allowed the pricing (freedom) to the insurance companies.”

“More than 15 lakh lives have already being covered under these two products within a period of about a month and that shows what is the demand of the customers,” he said.

Corona Kavach is a reimbursement-based policy, while Corona Rakshak is a fixed benefit cover against COVID-19. The health insurance providers launched products after the first week of July, in compliance with Irdai’s timeframe.

Urging insurers to play a greater role in bad times, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (Irdai) chairman asked them to be innovative both in terms of products and business operations.

He said there is a need for simple and transparent products to cater to the changing needs of the customers, and it will be easier for the distribution channels also to solicit business.

Mr. Khuntia highlighted that insurance industry operations are anti-cyclical in nature, meaning nobody needs protection in good times but wants to have adequate coverage as soon as emergencies or adverse times come.

So there is huge scope for the companies to do business and grow during these times, which will be good both for the public and insurers, he stressed.

The Irdai chief also tried to allay concerns raised by some insurers that the business prospects are likely to be dampened this year, saying insurers need to get out of this mindset and stop thinking that they should also float along with others as the economy is down.

Mr. Khuntia said there is a huge business opportunity from small and medium enterprises (SMEs) as workers would like to ensure protection through group insurance policies, if they are not already covered, as and when they get back to work.

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