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Money Feb 20, 2013

Why gender-based health insurance premiums make sense

By Bindisha Sarang

There are various aspects that insurers consider to determine your health insurance premiums, like your age and the city where you are based in. In fact, insurers are looking to move to gender-based pricing in health insurance.

One among them is Bajaj Allianz, according to an interview published in the Business Standard today.

"Bajaj Allianz is increasingly using customer segmentation to offer the best solutions to its customer. Presently we are pursuing gender-based pricing in our retail policies,"Tapan Singhel, MD & CEO, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance toldFirstpostin an email interaction.

Flickr/David Hilowitz

The insurer has approached the regulator regarding the same and work towards this is in progress.Flickr/David Hilowitz

The insurer has approached the regulator regarding the same and work towards this is in progress.

In motor insurance, Bajaj Allianz is offering a discount on the premium for women. The reason? Women are safer drivers than men. "In motor insurance woman drivers can earn a discount over male drivers," said Singhel.

In fact, they also have women-specific critical insurance policies as their offering. "And in health insurance we have launched women-specific critical illness plan which covers illnesses specific to women like breast cancer, cervical cancer, fallopian tube cancer etc. which is in addition to the standalone critical illness plan. We are continuously evaluating the use of gender-based pricing as a parameter in other insurance plans," he said.

And industry experts see reason in the strategy.

"As of now there is no gender based classification for adults for health insurance. And a move like this makes sense. If their data showed that women claimed lesser then lower premiums are a fair move," saidDeepak Yohannan, CEO, Myinsuranceclub.com told Firstpost.

He further added, on the face of it, barring a few diseases, women's claims and hospitalisations are much lesser as they are non-smokers and this eliminates many related diseases.

Yashish Dahiya, CEO, Policybazaar.com, echoes his views.

"Any kind segmentation which help us to understand risk better and hence pricing better, is good for the industry as well as consumer," said Dahiya.He further added that tough he wasn't an actuary, he thinks that women have lower risk for heart and stress related diseases.

If this gender-based health insurance premiums come into play, then there was a good possibility that the premiums for women would be time frame-based. This means, during the child bearing age the premiums could be higher and the premiums could decrease post the child bearing age.

However, health insurance products with gender-based premiums may still be far from reality. Until then, if you are a woman, make the most of the motor insurance discounts.

by Bindisha Sarang

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