In Conversation With Girish Rao, Chairman And Managing Director, Vidal Health

Individual retail is the other category where we have been growing extremely fast.

- How has the TPA market been since last year? 

Like all businesses TPAs had to adapt to lock-downs and take steps to protect our staff. It was really heartening to see how we stepped up to the challenge of serving customers, delivered sharp turn-around-times and ensured customer issues were resolved. IRDAI issued new guidelines on claims processing times and inclusions and we made changes to our processes to ensure our customers were able to take advantage of new rules. It’s been challenging but we have learnt how to perform under such severe adversity and emerged with flying colors.

- Any new trends that you saw in the insurance sector?

IRDAI and Insurers made make changes to support customers. We saw Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and some Non-Medical Expenses (NME) included in treatment costs. Then there were launch of Corona policies which customers signed up in large numbers. IRDAI then mandated much sharper Turn-around-times to help customers in distress. All insurers have been monitoring claim settlement rates so that customers are not distressed. I am happy to say that we have delivered on each of these parameters and ensured that our customers get some respite in these difficult times. We are ensuring these changes to enhanced service levels are now standard benchmarks for ever.

IRDAI's recent statement to allow home treatment as add-on cover in health insurance. What impact will it bring to the TPA market? 

It should not impact the TPA business. We will continue to process claims promptly as per policy terms. When launched customers will be able to add home-care cover to their base health policy. This was seen a key requirement during Corona wave and will help customers and providers design new hybrid health-care packages of In-hospital and home-care.

- The claim settlement criteria must have changed after the COVID pandemic. Can you point out a few that were not included in earlier policies?

We continue to process all claims as per policy terms. To make it easy to file claims during lock down we set up a process to accept scanned claim documents on mail (with physical document to be submitted later). The insurers supported this move and it helped us process claims faster. Early this year we adapted to ensure that Covid-19 claims were processed much faster for hospital admissions as well as reimbursements. We also ensured claim-settlements happened quickly to get money back in hands of customers. The Insurers and the Regulator have been working to change drive this change to support customers. Within the first month also saw PPE and some other Covid-19 related consumables were included in coverage.

- How much have you grown as a TPA in the last 5 years? 

We have been the fastest growing TPA in India. We have focused our growth strategy in all segments. We are now India's leading TPA in Govt Schemes. Thanks to Ayushman Bharat which have been so supportive. We partner with State Govt's across the country and continue to grow very fast. Similarly, we have reinforced our strength in Group Policies to partner with large corporates. All industry segments have reposed faith in our customer centric approach and chosen us. We are already market leaders in IT/ITES, BFSI, Automobile, Public Sector Enterprise (PSE), and many other segments. Individual retail is the other category where we have been growing extremely fast.

- Post acquisition of Vipul Medcorp, what are your plans now?

The acquisition of Vipul Medcorp is a part of our consolidation strategy which helps us move towards becoming the biggest player in the market. Our businesses are complimentary in many ways. Our geographical reach is now truly pan-India. We are now present in 28 states and 800 cities. We are a dominant player in Govt. Business, Individual Retail customers and Corporate Group Mediclaim business. It will add to our drive towards market leadership.

This consolidation in the industry is necessary if we have to invest in Technology and automation. We are committed to ensure this acquisition delivers superior service to our customers and Insurers. This allows us to invest more in building platform to handle much higher volumes.

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