Surge in non-Covid health cover claims, average ticket size: ICICI Lombard CEO

In a breather to non-life insurance companies, Covid-related health insurance claims have dropped with the ebbing of the second wave of the pandemic.

However, there has been a rise in non-Covid-related health claims and their average ticket size has risen significantly, said Bhargav Dasgupta, Managing Director and CEO, ICICI Lombard General Insurance. If this trend continues, it could impact health insurance premium.

Average ticket size

According to Dasgupta, the insurer has seen a 20 per cent increase in the average ticket size of these claims over two years, from 2019-20 to now, which is about 10 per cent compounded growth.

“As Covid claims have come down, the frequency of non-Covid health claims has gone up. Some of the other infectious diseases have spiked this year such as malaria, chikungunya and dengue. Also, there was some amount of backlog of the elective surgeries that have now caught up in this quarter,” he said in an interview with BusinessLine, adding that the ticket size of claims has gone up for similar ailments.

“We’ll have to see if it’s a temporary increase or permanent in nature. This could perhaps be because of additional RT-PCR tests that hospitals have do or some more procedures that they’re following, but hopefully that will stabilise,” he said, adding that if healthcare costs continue to increase at the level they are going up it could start impacting the premium for customers.

Dasgupta said that the insurer increased pricing on its corporate health portfolio, but is on the wait-and-watch mode on retail health insurance.

“On the retail side, we have to go back to the IRDAI and seek price increase. As of now, we’ve not done that. This is just one quarter data; we want to wait for this fiscal and see the data and then decide. We are not using the Covid spike to ask for a price increase because that would not be fair on customers,” he stressed.

Between April and September 2021, the insurer received 72,059 Covid-related health claims and 2,38,409 claims for non-Covid cases.

Dasgupta, however, continues to be confident about growth prospects, and said there is a structural increase in the demand for health insurance.