Mumbai: London-based Prudential is looking to set up a health insurance venture in India. The company, which is in a partnership with ICICI Bank for its life insurance and asset management business, may need to look for another partner as the latter has a non-life venture — ICICI Lombard General Insurance.
There are five standalone health insurance companies in India — Aditya Birla, Care, Manipal Cigna, Niva Bupa, and Star Health. Health insurance is the fastest-growing segment in non-life, and its share has risen from 29.5 per cent in FY231 to 35 per cent in FY23. In a recent investor call, Anil Wadhwani, CEO of Prudential, said, “India is clearly an exciting market, with a large population… there is significant under-penetration.” In response to a query from TOI, a Prudential spokesperson said that the company does not comment on market speculation. However, industry sources said that the company has a senior executive in Bangalore to oversee the health insurance project.
Besides the growth opportunity, a presence in health insurance supports the life business by providing information on health. It also ensures that a line of business is not impacted by market performance or interest rates.
The 175-year-old insurer underwent a significant change after it repositioned itself as an Asian insurer. The company provides health and life insurance in 23 markets across Asia and Africa and has 10 million customers.
According to a report by Milliman, health insurance is expected to experience high growth in the post-COVID years due to increased awareness levels, an upward revision of premiums, and growing income levels. The actuarial firm has said that there is significant headroom for growth as private health insurance is still concentrated in tier 1 and 2 cities, and penetration is limited to the top 7-10 per cent of the population by income levels.