Aditya Birla Group enters health insurance business

Customers offered an incentivized wellness programme, customized health records on smartphones

Salil Panchal
Published: Nov 24, 2016 07:34:27 PM IST
Updated: Nov 25, 2016 12:44:29 PM IST

Life is not a template and neither is mine. Like several who have worked as journalists, I am a generalist in my over two decade experience across print, global news wires and dotcom firms. But there has been one underlying theme in each phase; life gave me the chance to observe and tell a story -- from early days tracking a securities scam to terror attacks and some of India's most significant court trials. Besides writing, I have jumped fences to become an entrepreneur, as an investment advisor -- and also taught the finer aspects of business journalism to young minds. At Forbes India, I also keep an eye on some of its proprietary specials like the Rich list, GenNext and Celebrity lists. An alumnus of Xavier Institute of Communications and H.R College of Commerce and Economics in Mumbai, I have worked for organisations such as Agence France-Presse, Business Standard, The Financial Express and The Times of India prior to this.

 mg_90411_insurance_bg_280x210.jpgImage: Shutterstock (For illustrative purposes only)

Aditya Birla Financial Services Group (ABFSG) on Thursday announced the launch of its health insurance business, through a standalone company Aditya Birla Health Insurance Company Ltd. Aditya Birla Group will hold 51 percent stake in the new venture while South African financial services company MMI Holdings will hold the balance 49 percent stake.

Aditya Birla Health Insurance enters the highly underpenetrated market of health insurance, where merely less than three percent of the retail population has some form of health cover. This figure gains importance when one considers that healthcare costs in India are on the rise, due to a jump in lifestyle-linked ailments and diseases over the past two decades.

“India remains a severely under penetrated market in terms of health insurance. There is ample opportunity here,” Ajay Srinivasan, CEO (financial services) at Aditya Birla Group said.

From a customer viewpoint, health protection has the lowest element of priority in India. 76 percent of people in the United States own a health insurance, while it is 35-40 percent in China.

The new firm has a capital infusion of Rs 250 crore and it will commence operations at India’s main metros of Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Pune. “The plan is to expand to 100 cities in a couple of years," Mayank Bathwal, CEO of Aditya Birla Health Insurance told media.

The company will seek to sell insurance through a range of channels including bancassurance, agencies, brokers and online.

Aditya Birla Health Insurance aims to offer a differentiated model compared to competitors, by driving awareness and changing customer attitudes in health insurance.

Customers will be able to select their own healthcare providers from an extensive network, manage their healthcare expenses and will be well informed about how to improve their own health through an incentivized wellness programme.

Aditya Birla Health will also offer customers with a chronic care management programme for others dealing with chronic lifestyle conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma and high cholesterol will find value in the chronic care management program.

Customers would also get access to an exhaustive network of pro-health and wellness services, personalised healthcare records, customised health information and insurance services, including sales and services through a digital application on their smartphones.

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