Antony Jacob talks about Health Insurance with Business World
Antony Jacob, Chief Executive Officer, Apollo Munich Health Insurance Company, talks to us about the re-launch of Apollo Munich as Apollo Munich and the unique parentage of this health insurance company.
What is your opinion of the health insurance market in India?
Health insurance in India will present accelerated growth opportunities in the years to come. On closer examination of the market dynamics, it is clearly evident that the opportunities to offer a variety of health insurance products to the Indian consumer are enormous. The healthcare spends in the country in 2009 alone totalled approximately Rs 1290 billion and estimated that this figure is poised to reach over Rs 2000 billion soon. The optimism is certainly not misplaced as India's per capita healthcare spend is among the lowest in the world and even the healthcare spend as a percentage of GDP is one of the lowest.
What lead to Apollo Munich being relaunched as Apollo Munich? How easy or difficult was the process of this change?
From Apollo Munich 'Let's stay healthy,' Apollo Munich has been able to create a different positioning with its 'Let's Uncomplicate' stand.
Why this change in positioning?
There is no change in partnership but only a name change as Munich Health is the new brand under which Munich Re is now offering its healthcare-sector services to clients and partners throughout the world. Munich Re is thus bringing together its global insurance and reinsurance know-how in health under one banner.
Consequently, we also went in for a change in our brand name. We feel that with this name change it is easier for customers to identify with us.
'Let's Uncomplicate' is not a position. It is our belief and our journey. Health insurance is not yet seen as the ideal vehicle to finance healthcare expenditure. Our campaign showcases Apollo Munich as a straightforward, user-friendly and hassle-free health insurance company and aims to tackle the general concerns faced by people when it comes to healthcare and health insurance. As the campaign states, Apollo Munich envisages to take the fear out of faces, the jargon out of words, the bitter out of medicine and trouble out of treatment to uncomplicate healthcare, and more specifically health insurance.
With an increasing number of healthcare and insurance (and both) players in the Indian market, how does Apollo Munich plan to stand out as distinct?
The Apollo Hospitals Group, one of Asia's largest healthcare provider and Munich Health, world leader in health insurance, come together to make quality healthcare easy and accessible. Apollo Munich believes in simple language, clear policies, transparent procedures and innovative products, making health insurance the way it ought to be. We know healthcare. We know insurance and that is where we differentiate.
Are there special geographies and/or sectors that Apollo Munich is planning to target with its offerings to begin with?
Apollo Munich is a pure health insurance player with an array of innovative benefits and services for the Indian consumer to uncomplicate healthcare. At present, Apollo Munich operates out of 28 offices with 650 employees and over 12,000 agents spanning across the country, while being headquartered out of Gurgaon. Within the next three financial years, the number of agent distributing our products and services would be over 40,000 and we envisage having our operations in all the top 30 cities of India.
How does the parentage help Apollo Munich to enable better service to the people of India?
Apollo Munich is a combination of two specialists — Apollo, which is synonymous with the healthcare industry and Munich Health, a leader in health insurance around the world. These two parents of Apollo Munich make an outstanding combination, difficult for any other company to replicate. We believe that through this parentage, we will be able to understand the healthcare financing requirements of this country, and perhaps replicate the success of healthcare financing through insurance, as seen in other countries, with the support of Munich health.
This unique blending brings in products and services to this country that are carefully researched and understood. So we do believe that we have the advantage. We have already rolled out few of our products that reflect the blended advantage of our two specialist parents and will continue to innovate and uncomplicate.