Apollo Munich CEO Antony Jacob. Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint
Apollo Munich CEO Antony Jacob. Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint

Health insurance remains neglected in India, says Apollo Munich’s Antony Jacob

Apollo Munich Health Insurance is set to provide specialized care to those affected lifestyle diseases such as heart ailments, cancer and hypertension

Apollo Munich Health Insurance is set to provide specialized care to those affected lifestyle diseases such as heart ailments, cancer and hypertension. The health insurer had earlier launched a product to exclusively cover diabetes.

Chief executive officer of Apollo Munich Antony Jacob said that plans are afoot to finalise one of the products by March next year.

On Thursday Apollo Munich’s brand ambassador actor Farhan Akhtar launched WINSURE, a new category in a health insurance plan called ‘Health Wallet’.

One of the important features of the product include creation of a reserve kitty for customers that can be used for a variety of out-of-pocket expenses such as speech therapy, purchase of medicines, vaccinations, dental expenses, diagnostic tests, spectacles, contact lenses and medical devices. It also allows the user the flexibility of paying for ‘non-payable items’ that are generally excluded from any health insurance.

In an interview with Mint, Antony Jacob talked about the disease-specific plans in offing that will be chalked out to cover both in and out patient expenses. Edited excerpts:

Do you see any shift in the market and products over the years? What is your next target as far as the diseases in India are concerned?

We are at an early stage and speaking to people about the real big issues that India is facing in health care. Infectious diseases are the ones for which we have found a solution. We have a product which is like 1.25 paise/day; it’s called dengue care and there is no under writing. All it will ask is your name, Aadhar card number and an undertaking that you are suffering from dengue now. There is a 15- day waiting period. This came out, out of a requirement of certain populations who didn’t want a full-fledged cover. We made it so easy. So our thinking is to find out from the people.

As a country the issues which we are facing are: diabetics, heart ailments, cancer, blood pressure related problems and their consequences. These are the significant ones. We have a product—Energy—for diabetes. We need to work on cancer; consequences due to hypertension and heart problems are our next big target areas. These will be first of its kind insurance cover policies as they will cover the post-treatment consequences as well. We want to solve the real issues and its important to cater to post-treatment consequences.

When do you expect to launch it?

We expect to finalise it in the next 3-6 months, the launch will be in 2018-2019. We have to go for regulatory approvals but we are going to finalise one of the products from our end at least by March and then go to market in next financial year.

In India people prefer to stay without any health cover and health insurance remains a neglected area.

People are wary that companies don’t settle claims easily. What do you have to say about it?

We have claims which are approved in seconds. I cannot comment about others but for us customer satisfaction is extremely important. Sadly it is a neglected area but I think with some of the innovations that we are coming about like the bonus, and the returns that you get. I think the mindset will change.

What do you think one should look at while buying a policy, apart from the premium?

Premium is one of the several things I really think you should look at. The brand reputation and statistics in terms of claim settlement ratios is also a crucial deciding factor.

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