Max Bupa to reduce exposure in group health portfolio

Tuesday 19, August, 2014 Standalone health insurer Max Bupa Health Insurance is looking to reduce its exposure to the group health portfolio on the back of continuing aggressive pricing war in the segment. Manasije Mishra, chief executive officer, Max Bupa Health Insurance, said in the last financial year, the group health segment was less than 20 per cent of their portfolio and this year it could be less than 10 per cent. “We are consciously dialling down on that, because we cannot compete against irrational pricing. Group health pricing has not seen any improvement. Although we will continue to service existing customers, Max Bupa will not be very active in that market,” said Mishra. The group’s health segment has become very competitive in the past few quarters with several large insurers quoting health premiums that are 10-15 per cent below their claims ratio, in order to retain corporate clients. Industry experts believe it is not sensible to offer discounts to large profitable firms, since they are capable of purchasing insurance without a subsidy. Max Bupa, according to Mishra, has always been a customer company and has not been aggressive on the corporate segment. The insurer, which has tied up with large foreign banks such as Standard Chartered and Deutsche Bank for bancassurance, has Federal Bank and Ratnakar Bank as part of their corporate agency network. “We are now working for more customised products for our bank partners. This will also include technology integration,” he said. The insurer has introduced the new edition of its flagship product Heartbeat Health Insurance Plan, offering individuals, nuclear and extended families a comprehensive health insurance plan. The plan has new features such as international cashless treatment for nine major critical illnesses, world-wide emergency medical evacuation, flexibility in sum assured ranging from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 1 crore. It also offers reduced waiting period of 24 months on pre-existing diseases for sum insured of Rs 5 lakh and above, coverage for up to 14 relationships under a single policy and option for loyal customers to enhance sum insured on renewal, irrespective of claim history. While Max Bupa is perceived to be a strong player in the high net worth individual (HNI) insurance segment, Mishra said the company had products for all price segments. They have a complimentary personal accident coverage being exclusively offered to Federal Bank’s Mahila Mitra Savings Account customers. Mishra added the company has a strong presence in Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana, a government-sponsored health insurance scheme. “Our average ticket-size is higher than the industry, but we do serve all segments of the population. We are not unhappy that we are known for a strong HNI proposition, but it does not reflect the price of our product, but the standard of our customer experience,” said Mishra. On capital infusion, Mishra clarified that while the losses have come down, those are still substantial and, hence, the company has a quarterly capital infusion mechanism. CORRECTION This article corrects to amend earlier version that said Max Bupa has launched a 'Mahila Mitra' scheme with Federal Bank wherein it actually should have intended to convey that Max Bupa has a complimentary personal accident coverage for Federal Bank’s Mahila Mitra Savings Account customers.

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