Apollo Munich Health Insurance Co. Ltd., a joint venture between Apollo Hospitals Group and Munich Health, an arm of Munich Re, is set to break-even.

Indicating this in an interaction in Chennaip, Antony Jacob, Chief Executive Officer, said the company had become profitable since the last quarter of this fiscal.

“We should be in a position to break-even by the end of this financial year,” he added.

The standalone health insurance company wrote a gross underwriting premium of Rs.475 crore last year. In 2012-13, he expected this to be around Rs.625 crore.

At present, the company has a market share of 4 per cent in the country’s total health insurance portfolio, and 10 per cent in the private health insurance space.

Mr. Jacob said the objective was to aim for a 10 per cent share in the total pie. Given the fact that the average ticket size was around Rs.4,000-5,000, cost-effective distribution of products remained the biggest challenge for standalone health insurance companies, he said. In this context, he pointed to the just-announced decision of the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) to let banks and non-banking finance companies have distribution tie-ups with standalone insurance firms. This would go a long way in taking health insurance products beyond Tier-I, Tier-II and Tier-III towns.

“I do think that there is a big need to significantly increase the penetration of health insurance,” he said. In this context, he pointed out that the total spend on health insurance was just about 5 per cent (that is, $3 billion out of a total insurance spend of $65 billion) in the country.

To a query, he said there must be transparency in terms of products, features, selling and managing claims. “Lack of full understanding of products at the time of purchase …lack of clarity causes significant pain,” he admitted.