Mahfuja Mukul: Less than one percent people of the country have not life insurance coverage due to lack of knowledge and worst performance of the insurers. The insurers are not willing to pay claims on time.
Most of the insurers pose negative attitude in payment of claims. Only 2-3 companies pay claims within 2 to 3 months after any incident been occurred.
Danger does not come by giving warning. The epidemic coronavirus situation has taught the subject better. Many families have seen how a lifetime of savings can be wiped out in one fell swoop if they are hospitalized after falling ill. A health insurance could give some strength to such a danger.
These health insurance policies are being sold by both general and life insurance companies doing business in the country. Health insurance is not able to attract the people of the country even if they stand by like a friend in times of danger. Not even one percent of the total population of the country is covered by this insurance.
Due to the lack of awareness among the people and the inability of insurance companies to introduce good insurance policies due to the crisis of actuarial (insurance policy making), people in the sector feel that people are not very interested in health insurance.
They say that having a health insurance can greatly reduce medical expenses. Health insurance is highly valued in developed countries of the world and even in neighboring India. But people in our country don’t have much idea about health insurance. They also say that a very small number of people are currently covered by health insurance. In order to increase the number of health insurance customers, on the one hand, such campaigns have to be run, on the other hand, financial support has to be provided from the government as well. Initially the government will have to provide subsidy for the health insurance policy.
According to a recent study by the Health Economics Unit, the financial situation of more than 600,000 people is deteriorating every year due to the cost of medical treatment. 17% of people do not get health care due to extra expenses. As such, about three crore people are not getting treatment even though they are in need.
Meanwhile, a report sent to the Health Economics Unit by the Insurance Development and Regulatory Authority (IDRA) shows that 15 lakh 12 thousand 124 people have health insurance in the insurance companies doing business in the country. This report is based on data from 2020. Two years ago, in 2016, there were 26 lakh 9 thousand 359 people under health insurance. In other words, the number of people covered by health insurance has halved in the last two years.
There are currently 33 life insurance companies and 48 general insurance companies operating in the country. Of these, 16 life and 12 general insurance companies sell health insurance policies. This health insurance policy includes group and single health insurance. 9 lakh 51 thousand 69 people are under group health insurance. And 5 lakh 61 thousand 55 people are under single health insurance. If the total population of the country is 18crore, only 0.84% of them are covered by health insurance.
Life insurance and general insurance companies sell health insurance policies, but more policies are being sold through life insurance companies. Life insurance companies cover 5 lakh 35 thousand 650 individual and 6 lakh 46 thousand 264 groups health insurance. On the other hand, in general insurance companies, 25,305 individuals and 2 lakh 4,065 groups are covered by health insurance.
Among the insurance companies doing business in the country, MetLife has brought most people under health insurance. This foreign-owned life insurance company has 5 lakh 12 thousand 460 people under single health insurance. And 83 thousand 618 people are under group health insurance.
Among the domestic insurance companies, Guardian Life has brought most people under group health insurance. This insurance company has brought 3 lakh 23 thousand 306 people under group health insurance. In other words, the Guardian has about half of the life insurance companies covered by group health insurance. However, no one has taken out a health insurance policy from the company alone.
Delta Life has the largest number of people covered by single health insurance among domestic companies. There are 11,543 people under the sole health insurance of this life insurance company. And 6 thousand 51 people are under group health insurance.
Among the general insurance companies, Green Delta Insurance has brought the most people under group health insurance. This general insurance company has brought 1 lakh 82 thousand 421 people under group health insurance. The company has a single health insurance for 1,461 people.
Among the general insurance companies, the state-owned General Insurance Corporation has brought in the largest number of people under single health insurance.
Among the private general insurance companies, Bangladesh National Insurance has brought most of the people under single health insurance. This insurance company has sole health insurance for 7,300 people. The company has group health insurance policies for 5,625 people.
Pragati Life Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Jalalul Azim said about the health insurance situation in the country, the number of people under health insurance in our country is very low. The policy that is being sold in Bangladesh now is group health insurance. There is no real single health insurance in Bangladesh. If the number of units cannot be increased, health insurance cannot be increased by group alone. So, single insurance is required. And if you want to increase single insurance, you need a good policy.
We lack expert (skilled) people to make good insurance policies. I will make a product, no actuarial.
He said that this insurance product is really new in our country. It requires a lot of marketing. We don’t have much of that marketing activity. You have to spend some money to promote it in the beginning. Our life insurance companies have set management costs. We don’t have the opportunity to spend as much as others (foreign countries) spend on launching new products.
‘Health insurance premiums are a little higher. Here the commission is done like any other single policy, then the purchasing power of the customer will go out. When we pay less, our salespeople get paid less. That’s why they want to sell more insurance policies than health insurance. ‘
Jalalul Azim said the government should come forward in some cases to expand health insurance. As there is abroad, there is also in India. The government provides them with health care with an incentive.
When poor people get sick, they have no choice but to go to government hospitals.
SM Nuruzzaman, CEO of Zenith Islami Life Insurance, told that the number of health insurers in our country is very small. The main reason for this is the actuary crisis. Good policies are not coming because of the crisis. This is a big problem for the insurance sector. The health insurance policy we are selling now is supplemented with another life insurance policy.
Uttam Kumar Sadhu, company secretary of Delta Life, told that if a customer who buys a health insurance policy falls ill or gets injured in an accident and is treated at a hospital, the insurance company will cover his medical expenses according to the type of policy. Having a health insurance policy reduces medical expenses a lot. In the developed world, health insurance is especially important. But in our country people do not have much idea about health insurance. That is why the coverage of health insurance is not increasing.
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