IRDA to bring out insurance database

Special Correspondent

To help firms design better products

It will have claim records of all companies for the past five years

IRDA is setting up servers and other logistics for the database

CHENNAI: The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) will shortly come out with a comprehensive database on policyholders and claim settlement records to guide insurance companies in designing better products, IRDA chairman J. Hari Narayan said on Sunday.

In his address after launching the ‘Star Health Magazine,’ conceived as a preventive health publication of Star Health and Allied Insurance, he said the database, which had the insurance claim records of all companies for the past five years, had proven robust during test runs.

The initially access to the database, expected to be finalised in the next few months, would be given to the insurance and health sectors. At a later stage, it would be available for the public. The IRDA was now establishing servers and other logistics for the database, which it developed with the health and health insurance sectors.

Mr. Narayan said patterns that emerged during the test runs showed that an insurance product was costing more in Mumbai than, say, in a city like Chennai or Hyderabad. While not regarding the premium cost as “too high” for a variety of reasons, the entire logic of costing had led to a situation in which the net premium grossed only Rs. 6,000 crore against the total claim settlement outflow of Rs. 7,000 crore.

He said the primary task was to address the situation in which the annual spend on health was to the tune of Rs. 180,000-Rs. 200,000 crore, whereas only a fraction was recovered as insurance claim. “There is a lot of ground to cover to narrow this gap.”

D.R. Karthikeyan, director, Star Health, said that while India could boast tertiary care facilities that were on a par with the best in the world, the largest number of medical colleges or the output of medical graduates, paradoxically the country continued to witness large-scale disparities in the common man’s access to quality care. In his estimation, 40 per cent of patients who got hospitalised for a major ailment sold property or borrowed heavily to meet treatment expenses, and 80 per cent spent the money from their own pocket.

V. Jagannathan, chairman and managing director, Star Health, said the company saw its role as going beyond issuing policies and settling claims; it envisioned a role for itself of advisor on good health care and wellness for the masses.

Earlier, at a press conference, he said the company had so far collected policies with a net worth of Rs. 485 crore against this year’s target of Rs. 520 crore. The company had a subscriber base of an estimated three lakh.

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