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Anuj Gulati, MD & CEO, Religare Health Insurance

“Access to quality healthcare in an economy is a function of primarily three things - availability of quality medical facilities, wide-spread distribution network and adequate healthcare financing options.”

February 27, 2018 12:00 IST | others
Anuj Gulati, MD & CEO, Religare Health Insurance
Anuj Gulati, MD & CEO, Religare Health Insurance (RHI), is responsible for setting up RHI's business and working towards making Religare as one the leading players in the Indian health insurance industry. In his last role at ICICI Lombard General Insurance Company Ltd, Gulati was the Director for Services and Business Development. Previously, he has been an entrepreneur and started his career as a financial analyst with Procter & Gamble India Ltd.
 
RHI is a specialized health insurer offering health insurance services to employees of corporates, individual customers and for financial inclusion as well. Launched in 2012, RHI’s operating philosophy is based on the principal tenet of ‘consumer-centricity’, the company has consistently invested in the effective application of technology to deliver quality in customer servicing, product innovation and value-for-money services.
 
In an interaction with Shweta Papriwal, Editor, IIFL, Anuj Gulati, MD & CEO, Religare Health Insurance said, “Access to Quality Healthcare in an economy is a function of primarily three things - availability of quality medical facilities, wide-spread distribution network and adequate health care financing options.”
 
This year’s budget had two mega announcements concerning Insurance industry. How do you view National Health Protection Scheme in terms of viability and execution? What do you think would be its impact on the overall industry? Do you see the benefits accruing to private players as well, or restricted to PSU biggies?
NHPS is the largest healthcare initiative taken by the government. Given its scale, the most important parameter for its sustainability will be establishing an efficient claim servicing and network management process.
 
Furthermore, adoption and usage of the scheme, the beneficiary level will largely depend on the nature and scope of coverage i.e. if apart from basic hospitalization does the scheme also covers expenses towards OPD or diagnostic tests, coverage for critical illnesses or specific ailments such as cancer, cardiac and sub-limits applicable if any. This clarity will also help in a merit based selection of insurers’ basis their experience in risk pricing, distribution reach and claim servicing.
 
In addition, a seamless integration with similar state-run healthcare programs will help in not just better utilization of funds but also in aligning efforts.
 
The scheme is expected to significantly increase health insurance business and we strongly believe that insurance companies will have an inherent advantage owing to risk and network management capability. 
 
How is the industry viewing the merger and consolidation of the three non-life insurers? Will this further pave way for consolidation in private sector players as well?
The combined distribution strength and capital support of each of these players could result in an increase in the overall penetration of non-life insurance in the market and efficiencies in terms of cost of distribution & servicing.
 
In general, the insurance industry has seen a fair amount of activity in recent times including the listing of the insurance companies. How do you see the industry evolving post that?
The industry has seen a lot of movement in this regard and we feel that for a capital intensive business such as ours, listing helps access quality capital and generate awareness. We can expect growth and increase in penetration as the economy grows.
 
How does the industry approach to penetrate healthcare in rural India? How significant is the role of government and voluntary organizations to create awareness for health in the rural areas?
Access to quality healthcare in an economy is a function of primarily three things - availability of quality medical facilities, wide-spread distribution network and adequate healthcare financing options.
 
Keeping this in mind, in addition to third-party distribution tie-ups and campaigns to build awareness, insurance providers & government institutions have increased focus on building a mutually beneficial eco-system between consumers, micro-finance institutions and medical service providers with extensive presence in such markets. Some of the initiatives in this direction are -
  • Via product innovation, low ticket size comprehensive products are being offered to the end-beneficiary that are affordable even by daily-wage earners.   
  • Significant efforts have been taken to identify hospitals in close proximity to rural audience and extensive training to build their understanding of cashless servicing.
  • Tie-ups with micro-finance institutions owing to customer affinity and extensive reach.
Role of government and non-profit organization is pivotal. Support in terms of establishing quality healthcare facilities at tehsil, block and village level will significantly help in increasing healthcare penetration. 

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