Mr. Antony Jacob's Interview in NDTV

Apollo Munich are Going Slow on Group Insurance, Focusing on Retail

Antony JacobInterview Antony Jacob, CEO, Apollo Munich Health Insurance

We are Going Slow on Group Insurance, Focusing on Retail

Apollo Munich Health Insurance, a joint venture between Apollo Hospitals and Munich Health of the Munich Re group, is riding on the back of an expanding health insurance market to post healthy growth. A day after signing the accounts for 2009-10, during which the insurer registered a 130 per cent growth in premium income to reach Rs 115 crore, Antony Jacob, Chief Executive Officer told Sarajeet K Zen, that the company is hoping to take the figure to over Rs 200 crore in the present year

What have been the growth trends in the health insurance market and your company?

The overall health insurance sector has been growing at a healthy rate of 25 per cent per annum compounded growth for the past five years. Our projection is that it will grow at 25 per cent per annum at least for the next bve years and emerge as the largest segment of general insurance, beating motor insurance, which now accounts for nearly 40 per cent of the industry's premairn. As far as Apollo Munich Health Insurance is concerned, we have had a fairly satisfactory year in terms of numbers. For 2009-10, we have signed our accounts on May 6. We have achieved gross written premium (GRW) of Rs 115 crore, nearly a 130 per cent gowth over the rifevious year when we had clocked OWP of about Rs 50 crore. For 2010-11, we are looking at over Rs 200 more in GATE

• What are the business segments that you are focusing on?

We have three types of portfolios, group health insurance, the retail individual health and thirdly, we also participated in some rural schemes. Our primary focus is on the retail business. On the group health front,. unfortunately the experience has not been as we would have liked. It is still a loss-making proposition because of the past trends of cross-subsidy between other general. insurance products and health insurance. So, we have slowed down on the
group health portfolio reach and what we have focused a lot in the past 12 months is on individual insurances. That's doing reasonably well

You said the group health is still a loss-making proposition. How much would be the average loss ratio on this portfolio"

Our loss ratio is a little over 100 per cent, which is better than the industry, where the i average loss ratio s anywhere between 120-140 per cent. We hope that during the present yea; we will bring our loss ratio on the group health portfolio to sub-I00 per cent.

• Are you looking at adding new products on the retail front?

At present, our product range offers sum insured from Rs 30,000 for below the poverty line (BPL) schemes and goes right up to Rs 20 lakh for the HMIs (high net worth individuals) with different slabs in between We have several policies awaiting approval from the 111am-doze Regulatory and De-✓elopment Autholity.

• Recently, a new standalone health insurance company — Max Bupa Health - entered the maaket How do you see the con-petition for market share? I think the market is wide and open at this stage with just about 30 million out of over a billion people who have health insurance. In the top. eight cities, the penetration is just about 11 per cent. There is room for many more players. I believe that, and new companies, wl be investing a lot in terms of products, infrastructure and distribution capabilities to get a share of the .traristned More players will definitely help increase general awareness on the .need for health insurance in this country, thereby getting more and more people who are presently uninsured to firstly think of health insurance and then decide on whether to buy from Apollo Minch or some-body else.

• There are often complaints against health insurance companies on the claims settlement front. What steps have you taken in the past to improve die claims settlement procedures? The moment of truth of health insurance is at the trine of clams, As a company we believe in this 100 per cent. We offer both cashless facility through over 4,000 hospitals and reimbursement facility for people who choose to go outside of the network We gave very high priority for . settling *genuine clams eqxdalously. We have in-vested a lot in terms of making sure that we have very strong processes and controls to make sure that our claimants are well taken care of

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