ceo apollo

Health issue has been a prior issue for almost every citizen in the world. As per the concept of “Health is Wealth”, people always try their best to get the best medical solution and they put all the possible efforts for it. As there is no certainty about medical hazard, health insurance plays a vital role for the patients. Medical insurance is just like a best friend who always helps in adversity. There are multiple choices for the people to buy medical insurance with different scheme. However, very few of citizens are being served with authentic medical insurance. Apollo Munich is one the best medical insurance service providers for those people who really need of a reliable policy.

Interview with Mr. Antony Jacob, CEO of Apollo Munich

With the advent of multiple standalone health insurance and general insurance players in the market, what differentiates Apollo Munich from others?

Apollo Munich is a combination of two specialists – Apollo Hospitals, the leader in healthcare industry and Munich Health, a pioneer in health insurance around the world. These two parents of Apollo Munich make for an outstanding combination, which gives us a distinctive edge. We believe that through this parentage, we are in a good position to understand the healthcare financing requirements of this country and replicate the success of healthcare financing through insurance, as seen in other countries, with the support of Munich Health. Hence we take pride in claiming “We know Healthcare. We know Insurance”.

Indian consumers used to perceive health insurance as a complicated product. How has Apollo Munich addressed this issue?

Ten years ago, people were concerned about healthcare and financing healthcare, but buying health insurance was seen to be complicated, cumbersome, and complex. Talking about insurance was better left unsaid, as it appeared very complex to people.

With this very insight at the heart of Apollo Munich, we made this challenge the core of our business. We believe that health insurance must be uncomplicated for the masses and since then ‘Let’s Uncomplicate’ has been our belief and journey.

We have worked towards making Apollo Munich a straight-forward, user-friendly and hassle-free health insurance company that consistently tackles the general concerns faced by people when it comes to their healthcare and health insurance. We focus on an easy, uncomplicated process for people seeking comprehensive health insurance for themselves and their loved ones.

Apollo Munich has been spearheading the health insurance industry through its innovations. Can you please share some of the innovations done by the company so far?

Apollo Munich has many laudable firsts to its credit. We were the first to offer integrated health and wellness solutions to corporates. Apollo Munich was also the first health insurance company to bring in retail products with lifelong renewal, no sub-limits, maternity, no co-pay, no claim-based loading, portability, restore and multiplier benefits, products with wellness features, single disease covers for diabetes and dengue etc.

At Apollo Munich, our vision is to be a trusted leader in the health insurance sector by providing ‘innovative solutions’ to the Indian population. Innovation has been in our DNA since inception. Tracing back the journey of Apollo Munich, we have only treaded forward and grown with every step. Nine years ago, the product journey that was set in motion with a single spark, ‘Easy Health’ has now grown into an exhaustive list of health insurance products.

Ever since its launch, Apollo Munich’s “Optima Restore” has created waves in the market and has become a benchmark for the industry. Its unique ‘Restore’ benefit automatically reinstates the basic sum insured in case the insured exhausts their sum insured in a policy year. The reinstated sum insured can be utilized for any other illness or another family member. Under its ‘Multiplier’ benefit, if the insured person has had a claim free year, Apollo Munich will increase the basic sum insured by 50% and, if the second year too is claim free, then the basic sum insured gets doubled. Both these benefits are offered at no extra charge and without any hassle of paperwork.

India has earned the distinction of being the diabetes capital of the world. In order to help cover over 65 million diabetics in India, Apollo Munich launched a holistic disease management program for people living with diabetes – “ENERGY”. This is a complete health program that provides insurance coverage for people living with condition of Type 2 diabetes and hypertension. ENERGY offers coverage from‘day one’ and comes with an integrated “disease management program”that enables policyholders to manage their health and keep their sugar levels in control.

Around 35% of the dengue cases in the world occur in India, and there were approximately a lakh cases reported in India in 2015. Apollo Munich’s “Dengue Care”, India’s first “over the counter” health insurance policy provides Indians with financial support in battling the dreaded dengue disease, with no underwriting. Available at a very affordable premium of Rs.1.2 per day, this annual policy can be bought simply by giving a self-declaration.

Do you also offer innovative products to corporates for group health insurance?

Yes we do. Each corporate has a different need based on its industry, demographic profile, exposure to health hazards, fitment into their employee benefit program and budget. Hence, we provide tailor-made solutions to our corporate customers in order to help them manage their employees’ health related risks. Besides providing assistance on the healthcare financing front, we also create customized wellness programs for our corporate customers. These wellness programmes are designed not only to make insured members aware of their existing health status, but also hand-hold them through the entire journey to help them improve their health condition. These programmes monitor risk factor levels for employees with chronic diseases and coaches them into a healthier lifestyle.

A combination of regular wellness programs and health status checks on site at organizations aids companies to slowly lower claims as employees are in a better position to monitor their health status in the comfort of their offices, without losing precious work time and hence increasing productivity. Adoption of such integrated programs has helped our corporate customers manage medical inflation by keeping the overall incidence of ill health low.

How do you tackle the challenges that come with the distribution of health insurance?

Today almost 80% of the Indian population is still not covered under any public or private health insurance scheme to support health expenditure. Health insurance penetration across the country is a concern for all the insurance players. A major hindrance to health insurance penetration has been the inability of the existing distribution system to cover all segments of population in the country.

Traditionally and even at present, insurance advisors account to the maximum share of distribution of most insurance companies. This model is here to stay and the industry should develop smart digital tools to empower the agency force.

Another efficient distribution models has been bancassurance. We believe that banks have a large footprint across the country and hence are an ideal choice for insurance companies to work with to take health insurance to the masses. And we aim to enhance our distribution through bancassurance.

The insurance regulator-IRDAI has been instrumental in providing guidance and a path, wherein new distribution channels are opening more avenues for people to accept and purchase health insurance for self and families. The need of the hour for insurance industry is technology-led disruptive innovative distribution models to grow further.

At Apollo Munich, we have a well-articulated plan to develop technology based products and services to uncomplicate the lives of our customers. In addition to that, we also built a technology-led model of distribution which is helping us in augmenting our reach into tier 3 and 4 cities, apart from the major metros and tier 2 cities.

Please tell us more about your technology-led distribution model.

To further strengthen Prime Minister’s ‘Digital India’ initiative, Apollo Munich launched a unique, disruptive and technology-driven ‘Digital Office’. Through creation of Digital Office, Apollo Munich’s objective is to create an easy access to health insurance fulfilment process by digitizing and uncomplicating the entire value chain. Digital Office is poised to eliminate hassle, long waiting time, paperwork, and enhance ease and comfort. Digital Office has helped in significantly reducing service turn-around from average 15-21 days to 7 minutes. More importantly, the solution has been instrumental in enhancing customer experience and increasing our reach in tier 2, 3 and 4 cities. The instant policy issuance gives an instant closure to the customers that eliminates the uncertainty and helps in strengthening the trust factor.

What are the key service parameters which you as an insurance provider focus on?

Since inception our steadfast focus has been to give our customers a hassle-free experience at all touch points from sales to claims, while keeping response times to a minimum. We have a strong policy issuance turnaround times and ensure 99% of cases that require medical underwriting are processed within three days and 99.89% of endorsement cases are processed in two working days. We at Apollo Munich believe that “we are in the business to pay claims” and ensure that 98% of the claims received are paid out in 15 days. We are also using technology to be able to issue a policy within 7 minutes.

What has been the company’s financial growth trend? What is the expected GWP for FY 2016-17?

In the last financial year, Apollo Munich has crossed the 10 billion mark in GWP reflecting a growth of around 23% year-on-year and is committed to deliver high-quality services to its customers through innovative and expert products, integrity in processes and uncomplicated services. Apollo Munich is the fastest health insurance company to reach a break-even point and has been profitable in the last two years. The company achieved an impressive growth rate at CAGR of 46%. This year we are poised to grow at around 30%.