Insurance sector as a whole is seeing elevated stress levels following a spike in Covid-related claims that many companies had not factored in
The second quarter of the calendar year 2021 saw a spike in health and term insurance prices. According to PolicyX.com, a leading insurance web aggregator, the health insurance price index has risen by 4.87 per cent while the term insurance index has gone up by 2.79 per cent.
The index value for health policies rose to Rs 25,197 in Q2CY21, whereas in Q1CY21, the prices remained constant at Rs 24,026. The jump has been attributed to the adverse impact of Covid-19. Similarly, the index value for term insurance policies rose to Rs 22,524 in Q2 of calendar year 2021 from Rs 21,913 in Q1. “Overall, the insurance space in India saw a considerable 7.29 per cent surge in the pricing of term insurance in the span of Q4 2020 to Q2 2021,” PolicyX said in its report.
According to the web aggregator’s report, three health insurance firms raised their premiums in Q2, with the highest increase being 24.5 per cent, followed by 9.8 per cent, and 0.7 per cent. Also, when looked at segment-wise, the highest increase in premiums was seen in the “2-adults” category (5 per cent), followed by the “2 adults and 1 child” category (4.3 per cent).
In the term plan space, four insurers hiked their premiums in Q2 of 2021. While males aged 55 years on average saw the highest spike in term prices of 3.3 per cent, females aged 25, saw the lowest increase at 1.4 per cent in term insurance prices.
“The insurance sector as a whole is experiencing an escalation in stress in recent times. The unprecedented scenario has doubled the pressure on the insurance sector which the industry tried hard to manage in the last few months. However, some part of the pressure has to be borne by the customers as well,” explains Naval Goel, Founder & CEO, PolicyX.com
Both general and life insurance companies have seen a huge spike in claims due to Covid, the risk of which was not factored in while designing the products. General and health insurers have, as of June 11, received over 1.8 million claims amounting to Rs 24,397.35 crore, of which 1.46 million claims worth Rs 14,060 crore have been settled, thus resolving 81 per cent of the volume of claims received.
As for life insurance companies, the industry received 22,205 claims worth Rs 1,644.56 crore during 2020-21, where death was due to Covid-19 and related complications. This amounted to 0.3 per cent of the total premium income of the year. Of these, 21,854 death claims amounting to Rs 1,492.02 crore were settled. However, the second wave worsened the situation and insurers are seeing a huge rise in Covid death claims. Most life insurers have set aside provisions for such claims, over and above the amount earmarked during the first wave. Despite higher provisions, the second wave has come as a shock to the life insurance industry. Many believe they may need to hike their provisions, depending on the severity of the impact of the wave on claims. However, there will not be any significant impact on their solvency, experts have said.
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