Home / Companies / News /  Higher propensity to buy insurance in tier-2, 3 cities after Covid outbreak

Indians are showing a growing level of propensity to purchase insurance products, especially in tier-2 and tier-3 cities, according to a report. At 89%, the highest number of respondents willing to renew their health cover belong to tier-2 cities, as compared to 77% from tier-1. Similar trends were observed in term insurance, where 59% of respondents who want to increase their coverage belong to tier-3 cities, as compared to 26% from tier-1 cities. 

The survey results clearly point towards the sense of urgency spurred by the pandemic with respect to insurance awareness across the country.

The survey was conducted by Policybazaar, an online insurance marketplaces, to understand the changing consumer sentiment towards insurance purchase, household finances and investments over the last two years of the pandemic. The survey was conducted online and engaged with 5000 insurance customers.

Key points from the report:

Health insurance overview: Distinct rise in insurance purchase/renewal after the pandemic

The pandemic has definitely given the cognitive push when it comes to health insurance purchase. Out of the respondents who had contracted Covid, 25% (hospitalization excludes patients who needed hospitalization but it was subject to availability of beds) were hospitalized. We found out that 18% of them ended up spending over 15 lakhs, and 22% were not adequately covered by their existing policy. Also, it is disquieting to see that 13% of those who got Covid did not have health insurance in place. These figures clearly demonstrate that one should opt for at least 15-20 lakh coverage for each family member, as per the survey.

However, health insurance purchase trends definitely drive positive optimism. As many as 62% of the total respondents had an active policy and didn’t just depend on their corporate cover. The figures also vouched for the fact that Covid had acted as a catalyst in health insurance purchase. While 50% of these policies were bought after Covid first wave, 41% were purchased after the Delta wave. Also, 80% of these policies were family floater plans, thereby revealing a higher inclination towards ensuring sufficient coverage for the entire family.

Also, a significant proportion of 84% of respondents did not have to serve a cooling-off period. Earlier, a cooling-off period of 3 to 6 months was applied wherein people recovering from Covid could not buy a policy before completing this duration. These figures demonstrate the insurers’ effort to expand the safety net and ensure maximum protection. Moreover, even as Covid’s graph continues to be erratic, over 80% of respondents still show a willingness to renew their health insurance and 35% of them plan to increase their cover. The reasons cited for the same are rising medical inflation, financial instability and covering more family members. Health insurance is, therefore, seen as an effective shield to provide 360-degree protection against these.

Term insurance overview: More inclination towards larger cover

Analyzing term insurance buying behaviour brings out the respondents’ inclination to opt for larger cover to ensure the protection of their dependents. As of April 2022, 60% of the respondents had an active term insurance policy. While 55% of people prefer term insurance because they want a larger cover for a lower premium, 24% want enhanced protection over and above their existing life insurance policy. This depicts an increased awareness towards benefits of a higher cover policy among the buyers, given these uncertain times.

The purchase trends bear quite a stark resemblance to health insurance. While 47% of the active term policies were bought after the first wave, 40% of them were purchased post-second wave. While the pandemic might have triggered the purchase of the policy, as many as 78% of respondents want to continue the policy even as things begin to get back to normal. 39% of them wish to opt for a higher cover, with the highest number of respondents (59%) belonging to tier-3 cities. It’s exhilarating to note that 15% of the active policies are the recently launched independent homemaker term plan on Policybazaar, as per the survey.

Investment Overview: Evident shift from tax-saving to wealth creation

Conventionally, most buyers have invested in insurance to save tax. However, the survey responses indicate that 54% of the respondents are consciously choosing investment-cum-insurance products for wealth creation. Also, 50% of the respondents were impacted financially due to Covid. Even after two years of the pandemic, out of these, only 25% could recover to the pre-pandemic levels, while the rest are still earning a lower income or looking for jobs. This further establishes the need for robust financial security to battle such uncertainties.

Talking about the propensity to invest, 3/4th of the respondents save or invest their income. However, the amount invested by 53% of them is below the recommended benchmark of 30% of the total income. One noteworthy finding here is that the propensity to invest appears to be higher among females. It is concluded that 30% of females save or invest over the recommended benchmark of their monthly income as opposed to 20% of males. This translates to people now seeing insurance-cum-investment products beyond a mere tax-saving tool and making them a part of their portfolio to gain better returns on their funds, as per the survey.

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