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Focusing on youth can improve claim ratio: K G Krishnamoorthy Rao

Q&A with MD & CEO, Future Generali

M Saraswathy  |  Mumbai 

At a time where the general insurance industry is abuzz with exotic product structures and offerings, wants focus on basic products. In an interview with M Saraswathy, K G Krishnamoorthy Rao, MD & CEO, discusses the reasons for this strategy. Excerpts:

Since you had a better claim ratio last year, do you expect to make money out of the third party motor segment this year?
This year, about 50 per cent of products are from motor segment. As of now, motor is giving us the best combined ratio. Claim-ratio wise, last year, we are one of the which had a better claim ratio in the industry. We hope that if we can continue that trend this year, we can make some money out of this portfolio.

Unlimited third party cover has affected the books. How do you propose to deal with it?
There are very few nations where unlimited third party cover is given. For an insurer to price a product is difficult if the cover is unlimited. We do not know what the liability will be. Only in road accidents, there is no limit. So, if some limit can help, it will help the insurers price the product accordingly. A limit of Rs 10 lakh has been proposed, and I feel that it is reasonable.

Since you are a new entrant, would you be looking at offering niche products like cover for alternative medication (in retail) and HIV patients, which seem to be the flavour of the market?

People availing alternate medication are very less in number, majority still go for Allopathic treatment. Hospitals offering such treatments are limited. Some of these procedures are not recognised and hence cannot be reimbursed. Though we have some covers for alternate medication on the group front, we have none in the retail segment. We are having discussions with some of the Ayurvedic practitioners to see if we can standardise some of those things and offer a cover. 

In terms of HIV cover, we feel that we have taken up with Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (Irda) that insurers should be left to the to decide whether to offer cover or not, instead of forcing them to offer cover. As of now, we are not looking at bringing out a product like this.

We are still a new company and looking at our basic products to sell. Unless we have sufficient numbers in our basic product and start something exotic, the portfolio will go for a toss.

With the new bancassurance guidelines on the anvil, are you in talks to tie-up with banks, since you entered the market a little later than others?
If the new bancassurance guidelines are implemented, it would open up new opportunities for this segment. For us, by the time we came in, most had already tied-up with insurance So, the new draft regulations might open up opportunities for us. We are open to new tie-ups.

Claim ratio for the health segment has been high. How are you handling this scenario?
Most of the people preferring to take health insurance are above the age of 45 years, which is the target group for illness. So the claim ratio for insurance will also increase. The only way to reduce the ratio is by making health insurance attractive for the youth. Enticing the younger population to take health insurance ensures that the premium costs reduces, and also claim ratio.

Further, we have requested finance ministry to have some regulations in the healthcare sector itself. This includes having a grading system for hospitals or having a standard rate for treatments. If this is done, there will be a curb on healthcare cost inflation, that will reduce our losses.

The market is abuzz with reports of a possible deal to sell stake. Your comments?
These are only market rumours. I am not aware of any such developments.

First Published: Thu, November 29 2012. 20:31 IST