The Indian insurance industry is generally well-equipped to handle major losses such as pandemics. However the financial consequences will take some time to be addressed and will be explicit for insurers. Insurers are reacting to the growing COVID-19 outbreak across multiple fronts, including owners, claim payers as well as investment executives. Each one has its own unique challenge, not only for the insurance industrybut however, for the entire global economy as well as the general people in general.
The year that could have been an extraordinary time in the Indian insurance industry with regard to the growth of premiums is now settling in an industry where the harmonisation of previous year’s figures is to be a daunting task. The three most recent months of financial year are typically the ones which saw the highest collection rates for the insurance industry.
With the lockdown now in severe final week of April the premium collections are starting to fall severely. The damage is massive due to the fact that the majority of cities are currently under lockdown. Due to cancellations of flights the travel insurance policy isn’t available to customers. Making new insurance policies when insurance companies have to conduct medical tests takes time and causes delays. There’s no new policies being issued for NRIs or people with a current travel histories. In general the insurance sector has been impacted in a variety of directions.
Insurance Premiums vs Death Claim Challenge
Alongside the loss of business premiums for new businesses, insurance companies are also contemplating a threat of higher death claims. Although the government has acted positive and has announced an overall lockdown of 21 days, it is still a long way from the deaths rising to double-digits. But, in light of the early indications of the spread of communities becoming evident and the scale of the nation it is impossible to take anything as a given. Insurance firms believe that it’s too early to comment on the rapid increase of death claims for life insurance. If India can effectively manage the spread, then it could have an impact that is less severe on claims for life insurance. In relation to life insurance policies, a lot of firms will be able to pay the claims of current policies . However, the cost of future insurance will rise in the cost and the amount of policies with full coverage could experience declines,
The IRDA Clarification
Corona is set to be the biggest challenge that the Indian insurance industry has encountered up to now. The disease is the potential for a pan-India coverage and the possibility of spreading quickly. The treatment of COVID-19 can need a prolonged hospitalization, which could be costly. A lot of people have some form of health insurance, be it personal or a business health insurance. Although, since the virus is relatively new it is full of uncertainty about whether corona-related cases will be covered by provided health policies or not. To address the concerns of policyholders and bring clarity regarding the coronavirus coverage insurance regulator IRDA has issued instructions to insurance firms on March 4. The IRDA law stipulated If hospitalization is covered by insurance, the insurance companies have to make sure that cases relating to COVID 19 will be swiftly treated.
The Road Ahead
While insurance companies are listed on the list of exempted services in the lockdown and have common limitations on movement, there’s very little chance of creating opening up new business. Insurance companies that have a strong digital infrastructures should be better than others when there is a dramatic increase in COVID-19 claims (as seen on the ground in China in China and Italy). One of the biggest issues facing insurers is creating alternative employment arrangement for employees as well as sales staff so that they can be more flexible and are able to cope with increasing claims with faster responses.