Mr. Ranjan started the interactive session by defining insurance as a means to outsource risk against a premium. It is a risk transfer mechanism which ensures full or partial financial compensation. The different types of insurances can be broadly divided into life insurance, general insurance and standalone health insurance. Along with health, general insurance companies are involved in other verticals including property insurance, liability insurance and marine insurance. Talking about the insurance landscape he stated that there are 29 general insurance and 7 standalone health insurance companies in the country. The industry at $180 mn is expected to grow at a rate of 15% and thus has a huge growth potential. Mr. Ranjan moved on to discuss the health insurance sector in particular. He stated that health insurance is the insurance that covers the cost of medical expenses up to the sum insured opted. The sector has seen a steady growth till 2015-2016. The standalone insurance companies in particular have seen a growth of 40pc in premium. Being a niche sector, opportunity for growth is immense.
Moving on, Mr. Ranjan stated that although health insurance is a requirement to all, 80pc of health expenses in the country is paid out of the pocket. He stressed on the importance of sensitizing the population about the need for insurance, more so in the times where everybody is at risk owing to a sedentary lifestyle. Owing to this change of lifestyle, the trend has now shifted from infectious diseases to lifestyle diseases which also have high treatment costs. He stated that insurance is a regulated market, regulated by IRDAI which is responsible for regulating investments and solvency ratios of the insurer. A detailed discussion of the key stakeholders of a health insurance and the role of a health insurance company was carried out. An insurance company is responsible for development of new products, creating awareness, market penetration, sales and post sales service. He conclude on a note that the health insurance sector cannot work in isolation and that sensitization of people to the need of insurance is of utmost importance.