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‘Covid-19 a key trigger for digitally savvy urban Indians to buy term insurance’

Max Life Insurance Company will, in the next couple of months, come up with a “refined” term insurance product as it rides on increased preference for term insurance among customers in these Covid-19 times, said a top official.

Term insurance is now the most preferred life insurance category during the Covid-19 pandemic and the focus of Max Life will be on product categories that are most relevant for customers, Prashant Tripathy, Managing Director and CEO, told BusinessLine.

Also on the anvil is a corona rider (filed with the regulator) that can be used with various products in the company’s portfolio. Already, Max Life has two term products in its portfolio. (Riders are additional benefits added to policy that require an additional premium payment.)

Sharing the findings of its latest India Protection Quotient (IPQ) Express Survey, which sought to unravel the financial prepardeness of digitally savvy urban Indians during Covid-19, Tripathy said that 83 per cent of the 1,864 respondents — elite people with an average household income of ₹9.5 lakh per annum — were feeling attitudinally less secure, prompting them to proactively go in for financial planning. The survey, conducted along with Kantar, a data and consulting company, covered respondents across six metros, nine tier-I and 10 tier-II cities.

Heightened anxieties

“The fact that this well-heeled segment itself had an overall IPQ score of just 47 (out of 100) shows us the amount of more work that is needed from life insurers. A score upwards of 90 would provide comfort on financial protection to cope with pandemic challenges,” Tripathy said.

Proactiveness on financial planning has been prompted by heightened anxieties and fears around unemployment and untimely death of the family breadwinner.

“In these Covid-19 times, how secured we feel attitudinally has taken a beating. This is pushing us to quickly protect ourselves from Covid-19 eventualities. People are fearing the risk of ‘here and now’ than future.”

With more people looking for certainty, Max Life is also looking to expand its offerings on the ‘guarantee’ space, according to Tripathy.

The IPQ Express Survey revealed that term insurance ownership was highest across different categories of life insurance products, with 41 per cent metro respondents owning term products, 22 per cent owning market-linked products and 39 per cent having endowment products.

In tier-I cities, the term insurance ownership stood at 37 per cent; 15 per cent owned market-linked products and 29 per cent had endowment products.

Meanwhile, Tripathy said the company was hopeful of sustaining the strong performance it recorded in the first quarter in terms of new business premium, in the remaining quarters as well.

In April-June 2020, Max Life’s individual new business premium grew 4 per cent to ₹864 crore as against ₹ 820 crore in the same period last year. Only three to four private life insurers had recorded growth during the quarter under review.

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