Recent news related to health has compelled Indians to think twice about the significance of health insurance. News headlines such as “Indian citizens are more prone to cancer”, “India will become the diabetes capital of the world”, “60% of the heart patients in the world would belong to India in the upcoming few years”—coupled with the rising medical costs have attributed to the financial stress for a family. These are some of the reasons which have led to a substantial rise in the number of health insurances, especially in the urban India.
As per an estimate, less than 20% Indian population is covered through health insurance—creating a ground for prominent financial institutions to join in. This is one of the supreme reasons for the banks (both public and private) to offer different types of policies to their customers. The health insurance plans offered by the banks often tend to be tie-ups with insurance companies, where they work as an intermediary, paving the way for better marketing and agreement—given their accessibility and presence in the remotest areas of the country.
In this context, Non Banking Financial Company’s (NBFC) role can’t be overlooked as they have been actively contributing to the diversified market in the past. A major focus of NBFC in the recent times has been towards health insurance and SME finance. Owing to the emergence of several companies such as Bajaj Allianz, ICICI Lombard and Bharti in the field of healthcare, the popularity of health insurance in India is on the rise.
1. Tapan Singhel:
Managing director and CEO of Bajaj Allianz General Insurance, Tapan Singhel has led the company successfully to become one of the top insurance brands in India. A joint venture of Bajaj Finserv Limited and Allianz SE-Germany, the company has been catering to the divergent needs of life and non-life insurance customers. He marketed the insurance plans well by heading all retail channels and territories, thereby giving Bajaj brand a place in the health insurance of Indians.
2. Sunil Godhwani:
An entrepreneur, advisory and former managing director of Religare, he has played a pivotal role in elevating the status of health insurance. In the year 2012, Godhwani’s vision and determination for making the organization cater to the diversified needs saw the light of day, when Religare Enterprises limited started its venture in Healthcare finance under its Brand/ subsidiary Religare Health Insurance and it inducted Anuj Gulati as CEO to run the same.
To enhance distribution of health insurance, Religare collaborated with Union Bank of India and Corporation Bank who took equity into Religare. Additionally, Mr Godhwani with his team prescribed aggressive distribution of health insurance in retail through its SME finance lending business and affordable housing finance ltd. Owing to such an effective role and success in a short span of time, Godhwani is considered as one of the finest examples in India’s health insurance segment.
3. S. Viji:
He is the chairman of one of the most respected non- banking financial institutions in India: Royal Sundaram Alliance Insurance. His methodologies paved way for a joint collaboration between Sundaram Finance and R.S.A., U.K.—with incorporation of cashless mode of settlement for health claims for the first time in India. Besides this, Viji’s organization has also been successful in catering to different needs of insurances such as car and travel.
4. Anil Ambani:
A famous Indian businessman and the chairman of Reliance Group, Anil Ambani is one of the richest person in the world. His interests are vested in multiple sectors. Reliance General Insurance, a part of Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group is his brainchild. Unlike most of the insurance companies in India, who have foreign partners, the firm is promoted solely by the Reliance Capital, thanks to Ambani’s vision and expertise.
India has prioritized universal health coverage under the sustainable development goals. An individual should look for a comprehensive mediclaim policy so that they get equitable coverage options against future medical expenses. Recent collaboration between banks and private entities or NBFC is surely a step in the right direction. These industries have enough capital and brand value to expedite the complete health coverage for people based in India. This has been one of the prime reasons for NBFCs to diversify its services and therefore, entering healthcare financing space has become the utmost priority.