As many as 1.28 crore lives have been covered under corona-specific insurance products in the country so far with a premium collection of over Rs 1,000 crore, IRDAI Chairman Subhash Chandra Khuntia said on Friday.

During the pandemic, two corona-specific products — Corona Kavach and Corona Rakshak — were launched by insurers under the guidance of the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI). Besides, the insurers also introduced coverage against COVID-19.

“Under Corona Kavach, which is the standard product (introduced during the pandemic), 42 lakh lives have been protected; while 5.36 lakh lives have been protected through Corona Rakshak.

“And, from all kinds of corona-specific products, a total of 1.28 crore lives have been covered with a total premium of more than Rs 1,000 crore,” Khuntia said.

He was addressing a virtual conference during the annual summit of the Insurance Brokers Association of India (IBAI).

Addressing the insurance brokers under the fold of IBAI, the IRDAI chief said there is a huge opportunity for the brokers and insurers in the country after the pandemic and it has made people realise the need to get insured.

Khuntia said there should be more focus on tier-II, -III and -IV cities now as the growth will come from these areas.

“I have suggested them (brokers) that they should look at tier-II, -III, -IV towns and possibly the rural areas, because the higher economic growth will come from those areas now.

“We are happy now that with constant efforts by the government to control the pandemic, things are now appearing better,” he said.

Hopeful for an economic revival with the falling cases of coronavirus in the country and that people are getting vaccinated, he said huge opportunities lie in terms of insuring the small business units, properties and dwelling units, among others.

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Also, presenting statistics related to reach of the insurance brokers in soliciting policies, he said the focus more is on the non-life segment by them and it has to be enhanced in life segment also.

The number of active brokers right now is 482 in the country and their contribution to general insurance business is 26 percent. It has gone up from 22 percent in 2017-18 to 26 percent now.

In health insurance their contribution is 23 percent. They have better contribution in the group health insurance business at 36 percent; and in individual health business, it is only 4.3 percent.

“So, there is opportunity for improvement. In case of life insurance their contribution is only 1.1 percent, so they are mostly concentrated in the non life sector,” he added.

The IRDAI chairman also urged the brokers to focus on small business units that present huge growth opportunity.

IBAI President Sumit Bohra said, “In the past decade, the Indian non-life insurance industry has really come into its own with over Rs 1.89 lakh crore placed in premium during 2019-20, registering a growth of 10.58 percent on a year-on-year basis.”

He added that for the industry to further thrive and get to the next level of growth, it is imperative that insurance penetration grows to a level comparable to the more developed insurance markets.

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