K. R. SRIVATS, Business Line, JULY 19, 2013
Apollo Munich Health Insurance Co Ltd, a standalone health insurer, is targeting a 25 per cent increase in total premium income this fiscal to Rs 775 crore, its Chief Executive Officer, Antony Jacob, said. The health insurer had closed fiscal 2012-13 with a total income of Rs 620 crore.
Health insurance is the fastest growing segment in the Indian insurance sector.
Apollo Munich is also looking to leverage on a new distribution channel — bancassurance — thrown open to standalone health insurers by the insurance regulator in February this year. Bancassurance is the distribution of insurance products through the banking network.
At present, the agency channel accounts for about 35 per cent of the company’s premium income.
“We are looking at it (bancassurance) seriously and believe that it’s certainly a good option for us to use instead of creating our own network of branches, which is an expensive form of expansion,” Jacob told Business Line.
The company, he said, hoped to be able to tie up with some banks.
Jacob pointed out that any branch expansion takes three-five years to break-even. “If we are able to use the distribution reach of people already in the financial space, it will help in faster pace of penetration of health insurance,” he added.
Apollo Munich will look at all types of banks (MNC, public, private and regional rural banks) to enter into tie-ups.
Jacob also said he saw more competition in the health insurance segment from general, standalone and life insurance companies.
“India, as a market, offers space for all the three (life, general and standalone) to operate. In the months to come, you are going to see increased competition and more specialists. But 50 years from now, my guess is, it will be different.”