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Our Focus Is To Build A Solid Foundation With Innovative Products & Services: Anup Rau Velamuri

In an interview with BW Businessworld, Anup Rau, CEO, Edelweiss General Insurance, talks about the new plans and initiatives in the health insurance sector

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Tell us a bit about the “Zero Discharge Time” feature of your newly launched health insurance product. What are the key enablers of this feature? Does it rest upon an innovative technology platform at the backend?

Zero Discharge Time is a service we are offering our Health Insurance customers. As part of this, we have defined 19 procedures, where the patient does not have to wait at the time of discharge to complete any paperwork for Insurance. If you look at the industry average, a patient usually has to wait for about 3-4 hours from the time of discharge till the point he/she actually leaves the hospital after completing all the formalities. We currently have this facility with select hospitals in our network and the ambition is to scale this up quickly across the country.  

How will you manage to implement the “guaranteed bed” feature of the policy? For instance, what if beds are unavailable at a hospital of the client’s choice?

Guaranteed bed is a service we are providing customers who purchase our health policy. It is available in specified hospitals across the country, we are trying to cover the key tertiary hospitals. The priority is to ensure that the customer gets admission and a bed so that the treatment can start, although it may not be of the category that he is eligible for. However, the understanding is that he will be moved to appropriate room as soon as it is available.

How are the three variants of the plan different?

We have three variants available (Silver, Gold & Platinum). Apart from Sum Insured, the key differences are:  

* Silver has 12 in-built coverages while Gold & Platinum have 18. 

* Restore & Critical Illness benefit is in-built in Gold & Platinum while it is optional for the Silver Plan. 

* Recharge is an optional cover for Gold & Platinum customers

* Bariatric surgery, Organ Donor & Maternity Expenses are In-built benefits for Gold & Platinum customers.


What’s your distribution strategy for this product? Do you intend to focus on the direct to customer route, or on specific channels?

We will make all channels available to the customer – direct on our website, through an agent or through online market places, we do not want to restrict the customer’s choice of channel.

With the host of features that you are offering, will your product be pricier compared to existing products in the market?

Despite being a feature rich and one of the most comprehensive Health Insurance products in the market today, our pricing is extremely competitive. 

Does the plan cover OPD costs as well?

OPD costs are covered under pre and post hospitalization expenses, e.g. - expenses towards medicines, treatment and pathological tests as prescribed by the doctor 

Are there any specific clauses under which an insured person can opt for bariatric surgery under the plan, or is it available for everyone?

Bariatric surgery is covered on recommendation by a qualified doctor/surgeon. This benefit is in-built for Gold & Platinum variants of our Health Policy. 

Lastly, please tell us a bit about your business goals for the next 24 months – in terms of premium mobilisation, profitability, claims ratios, persistency and the like. 

We expect to have the complete suite of retail products over the next 12 months. We believe the customer’s experience is going to be the sustainable differentiator in this market where all products are almost commoditized. So, we are looking at innovation across products and services together, to offer a complete package to the customer. We believe that every step of the customer’s journey will add or take away from the overall experience, so we are paying attention to the little and big details. Like health, where we have got wrap- around services along with a great product, we will be bringing this approach to other product categories as well. 

We are fortunate to have the Edelweiss Platform as a stepping stone for us, so we are leveraging that opportunity while building out external distribution. As we speak, our Health Insurance product is already live on the policybazaar platform.

Our focus, in the first two years, is to build a solid foundation with innovative products and services supported by a robust distribution, internal to Edelweiss as well as external. We want to change the perception and experience of the customer with the GI category, make it more accessible, convenient, understandable, relatable and engaging than it has ever been.


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