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Insurance companies settle over 15.39 lakh Covid health claims as on June 22: Irdai member

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MUMBAI: Insurance companies have settled 80 per cent or 15.39 lakh Covid-19 health claims amounting to Rs 15,000 crore as on June 22, an Irdai member said.
Insurance players have received about 19.11 lakh Covid-19 health claims so far.
“Of the 19,11,384 Covid health claims reported as on June 22, 15,39,434 have already been settled for an amount over Rs 15,000 crore. This represents about 80 per cent of the claims getting settled as far as medical insurance or hospitalisation is concerned,” Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (Irdai) member (Non-life) T L Alamelu said.
She was speaking at the 13th Global Insurance e-summit organised by Assocham.
As far as death claims are concerned, which are handled by the life insurers, about 55,276 claims have been intimated. Of that, around 88 per cent or 48,484 claims amounting to Rs 3,593 crore have already been settled, she said.
Alamelu said the repudiated claim for health insurance is around 4 per cent and in life it is nearly 0.66 per cent.
Speaking on the occasion, ministry of finance joint secretary Saurabh Mishra said that digitalisation is one factor that has contributed to the resilience of non-life as well as to a great extent in life businesses in every sphere of activity from distribution and sales to post-sales.
“In the new normal of technology, it is not just an important element for us to drive it out but is going to play pivotal role in transforming the insurance businesses to make them more digital and customer-centric, cutting across every sphere of customer experience – claims efficiency, fraud proofing etc,” Mishra said.
According to Alamelu, life and non-life insurers have managed well despite the pandemic as they ended the year 2020-21 with a growth of about 9 per cent. In April and May this year, the industry has seen a growth of about 7 per cent, she added.
“In the next five years, the industry can easily grow well at 40-50 per cent, to be extremely optimistic if things settle down. And even if they have not settled down, it should grow at 25-30 per cent,” she said.
The insurance industry and the sector regulator have worked together during the pandemic to design new policies to cater to the demand of new and unprecedented situations, Alamelu said.
The insurance industry has a tremendous responsibility to offer protection plans, Alamelu said, adding that sector players need to be aggressive in selling insurance products because the Covid-19 pandemic has proved that having insurance cover is no longer an option.
Addressing the summit, Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) Managing Director Vipin Anand said the insurance industry has helped the country’s economy stay afloat during the current times.
“The overall growth rate of 9.2 per cent in new premium, including a healthy growth of 11.2 per cent in the life insurance sector has demonstrated the resilience of the industry,” he said.
The industry has shown great agility in adopting technology extensively during the pandemic, he said.
Anand said with large uninsured population in the country, there is a need for three million more agents to provide life insurance over a period of five years.
In response to a question on listing of LIC, Anand said insurance is a capital-intensive industry and funds are very important for the sector’s expansion.
“For solvency margin requirements, it is necessary that capital should come in. Also the government, as the only shareholders (of LIC) for so many years, has constantly supported us. There are expectations of the Indian government and, through them, that of the Indian public to be a part of this success and benefit from it,” Anand said.
Commenting on increasing of foreign investment limit in the insurance sector to 74 per cent, Kotak Mahindra Life Insurance Managing Director and CEO Mahesh Balasubramanian said the step will definitely open up one more option and opportunity for getting capital into the country.
“It can bring in capital wherever it is required. It can help promoters unlock value wherever they have created value,” Balasubramanian said.

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