Five months after the launch of its unique cancer cover, with a sum assured of up to Rs 50 lakh, Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) has sold 88,750 policies across India. And data shows that just four states — Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Kerala — accounted for 58.5 per cent of these cancer policies sold during this period. The west zone, comprising Maharashtra and Gujarat, have taken 26,280 policies. South zone, comprising Tamil Nadu and Kerala, have taken 25,670 policies, accounting for the maximum number of cancer cover policies sold so far.
Responding to queries from The Indian Express, LIC said in a statement: “As on date we have sold 88,750 policies with a first premium income of Rs 42.68 crore.” Incidentally, the first ever state-level disease burden study released last November showed that Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Maharashtra and Gujarat, which are placed higher on the development ladder, have become hubs of non-communicable diseases, including cancer.
According to a new paper published last month in the medical journal Lancet Oncology, the burden of cancer in India is over 1.5 million new cases, and is predicted to nearly double in the next 20 years with age-adjusted mortality rates of 64.5 per 1,00,000 people. The study also pointed out that fewer than 30 per cent survive five years or more after diagnosis.
The terms and conditions of LIC’s plan, which was launched on November 14, 2017, mandate a waiting period of 180 days from the date of issuance of policy before a claim can be made. “As the period is less than 180 days since the introduction of this plan, no claims were received/registered and paid so far,” the insurer said.
Several private sector players are also active in the cancer insurance segment. Aditya Birla Health Insurance, ICICI Pru Heart & Cover plan, Future Generali Cancer Plan, MaxLife Bupa Critical Illness, HDFC Life Cancer Care Insurance, Aegon Life iCancer Insurance Plan and Bharti Axa Cancer Insurance Plan are some of the schemes on the offer from private players.’
LIC, which has an asset base of over Rs 28.5 lakh crore, made a profit of Rs 20,000 crore in the first nine months of the financial year 2017-2018, as compared to Rs 19,000 crore in the full 12-month period of the previous financial year. The institution holds substantial stakes in most leading listed companies. According to LIC, the cancer plan provides “two benefit options”.
“In Option-1, level sum insured, basic sum insured will remain same throughout the term and Option-2 increasing sum insured, basic sum insured increases by 10 per cent each year for first five years or until the diagnosis of first event of cancer, whichever is earlier,” it said. The LIC’s plan takes care of specified early stage cancers as defined, where a lump sum benefit of 25 per cent of applicable sum insured is paid in addition to waiver of premiums for the next three policy years. If any specified major stage cancer is diagnosed, a lump sum benefit of 100 per cent of applicable sum insured less any claim paid previously in respect of early stage cancer is paid.
In addition, one per cent of applicable sum insured is paid monthly as income benefit for a period of next 10 years to life insured or to the nominee (in case of death of life insured) and the premiums will be waived for the remaining term of the policy, it said. “This plan is offered for a minimum sum insured of Rs 10 lakh and a maximum sum insured Rs 50 lakh. The minimum age at entry will be 20 years completed and maximum age at entry will 65 years last birthday. Minimum cover ceasing age 50 years and maximum cover ceasing age 75 years,” LIC said.
This plan does not offer any maturity benefit, death benefit and loan, and is available in yearly and half yearly mode with minimum premium of Rs 2,400 per annum for all modes. However, no medical examination is required, it said.