Max Bupa goes the family way

Last Updated: Sat, Mar 16, 2013 07:49 hrs

At a time when standalone health insurance companies are mainly focusing on individual business, Max Bupa Health Insurance has turned its attention to the family floater segment.

Manasjie Mishra, chief executive officer, said: "Instead of taking a policy only for oneself, we are encouraging customers to take a comprehensive cover for their entire extended family." The company  recently launched a Heartbeat Family First policy,  designed for the Indian joint family and covering up to 13 relationships and five generations. For those buying it, there's also a discount of 20 per cent on the second-year premium.

For Max Bupa, family floaters contributed to about 70 per cent of their retail business in 2012. The rest came from the individual business. Mishra explained all their products - Heartbeat, Health Companion, Health@Companion and Health Assurance - were available for both families and individuals.

The Heartbeat Family First product is a mix of individual cover and family cover. While each covered under the policy has a certain cover to himself or herself, the other sum is distributed among all the other family members. For instance, if it is a Rs 5+15 lakh cover, each member of the family covered is eligible for up to Rs 5 lakh and the remaining Rs 15 lakh is available jointly for all. Therefore, if an individual incurs a medical expense of Rs 7 lakh under this policy, Rs 5 lakh would be taken out of his individual limit and the other Rs 2 lakh out of the family pool of Rs 15 lakh.

This, says Mishra, ensures one person's hospitalisation does not exhaust the pool available for the other members. He said a 99-member family recently took this cover, with each having Rs 5 lakh, apart from the Rs 15 lakh pool.

Apart from the 20 per cent discount for the second- year premium, the company is also offering discounts for purchase of this product online.

The online-offline traffic is almost 50-50 for the company. Mishra says larger ticket-size plans are being purchased online. "Apart from discounts, we have a product recommendation engine that helps individuals choose a cover as per their actual requirement and lifestyle. Hence, for policies online, the average spend per life is Rs 7,000-8,000, in comparison to Rs 5,000 per life offline," he said.

To increase the penetration of health products in India, the company has followed a model of tiered pricing, with lesser premium for non-metro cities. Mishra said this was crucial, given the difference in the pricing of hospital care in metros and smaller towns.

The government-sponsored health insurance scheme, Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana, is a segment where Max Bupa is expecting to double the number of people covered this year. It has so far covered about a million people as a part of this scheme.

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