Online or cyber scams are more common than you can imagine. 56.1% of Indians fell a victim to online discount frauds last year merely by clicking on links that took them to sketchy, fake or unauthorized websites.
Over 25% experienced email phishing, 24.3% were affected by deceiving apps, and phoney online stores or portals impacted 22.2%.
- Frauds, including online scams, led to a 45,000 crore rupees hole in the Indian insurance sector’s pocket in 2019.
- Resulted in customers losing their hard-earned insurance investments in the form of premiums paid.
- Claims being rejected, leaving them with no healthcare protection cover during emergencies.
That’s right! The above numbers paint a grim picture; reveal how vulnerable all of us are against fake online offerings and their adverse consequences.
Insurance penetration and proliferation of insurance schemes in the country are expanding every year. When it comes to health insurance, India ranks amongst the least insured countries. That being said, health insurance remains the fastest-growing segment in the non-life insurance sector.
COVID-19 pandemic is forcing people to realise the undeniable relevance of adequate healthcare protection covers. 70% of respondents in a recent survey considered health insurance as more important than life insurance.
The following reasons are also contributing to the popularity of medical insurance:
- Lifestyle changes and associated diseases.
- Hectic work schedules.
- Improper eating habits.
- Rising pollution levels.
- Increasing health care costs.
- Double-digit inflation.
Health Insurance Benefits
- Compensates healthcare expenses when the insured falls ill or has an accident leading to hospitalisation.
- Includes costs related to tests, doctor/ambulance fees, pre/post-hospitalisation and medicines.
- Provides cashless treatment through listed hospitals or the reimbursement of the expenditure.
- Many insurers offer free medical-checkups.
- Prepares you for rising Medicare costs.
- Allows you to spare your savings without borrowing or selling valuable assets for accommodating medical spendings.
- Ensures peace of mind.
- Brings tax benefits under section 80D of the Income Tax Act.
Online Health Insurance
- The coronavirus has magnified the necessity of having health insurance.
- With the average treatment cost of 5 Lakh+, more people are now showing interest in healthcare covers to address inpatient treatment expenses for COVID-19.
- A large number of Indians are buying insurance online by comparing plans.
- Policy sales via online channels have moved up by 30%.
Advantages of Buying Health Insurance Online
- Utilise improved technology-enabled processes and streamlined customer experiences.
- Leverage online insurance aggregators and comparison platforms such as Quickinsure.co.in for making informed decisions.
- Do away with manual procedures, lengthy forms and loads of signatures.
- Can download a copy from an online account whenever and wherever required.
Stay Safe from Fake Online Health Insurance
- Bear in mind that the IRDAI (Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India) does not sell any insurance products.
- Do not trust fake websites such as http://www.irdaionline.org that use the name of the authority to sell insurance.
- IRDAI never calls policyholders for any reasons. Visiting fake websites could put your hard-earned money at risk.
- Avoid entering details of your policy documents on unknown websites without verifying their authenticity.
- Before buying health insurance, you should check if the insurance provider, agent or intermediary is registered with IRDAI.
- Be aware of COVID-19 phishing scams, never share your personal information requested on an email, and do not click on emails that look suspicious.
- Scrutinize policies promising extraordinarily low premiums and added benefits.
- Thoroughly read, understand various policy terms, conditions, inclusions and exclusions.
- Check possible spelling errors, misrepresentation of facts and withholding of information.
- Be watchful while transacting from public computers and Wi-Fi networks.
- Prefer using encrypted connections while making online payments.
- Carefully review all the payment steps, avoid disclosing your credit card information and proceed only on the insurer’s recommended portal with a secure SSL-enabled payment gateway.
- Never pay cash. If needed, write a cheque to the correct account.
IRDAI’s List: Registered Insurance Companies & Intermediaries
- Web Aggregators:
- Insurance Brokers:
“There are occasional reports of fraudsters offering insurance with unusually low premium from fake entities through online/digital mode. The public is hereby cautioned not to fall prey to such offers. The general public is hereby advised to ensure that insurance policies are purchased only from insurance companies registered with IRDAI, insurance intermediaries who can solicit business and are registered with IRDAI and insurance agents duly appointed by insurance companies.” – IRDAI Press Release, warning about fake online insurance offers during lockdown due to coronavirus.
Purchasing health or motor insurance policies online is often considered a relatively safe, transparent mode of transaction and reduces the chances of fraud. It is also accepted by many as a convenient and low-cost process. However, amid COVID-19 pandemic, as people are spending more online time than usual, scammers are exploring new avenues.
Insurance fraud, especially in the healthcare sector, is witnessing a sharp rise. Therefore, we must be mindful of all the potential risks and take necessary measures to protect ourselves from fake online health insurance.
Sources: IRDAI, Economic Times, Livemint.com, Wikipedia.org, EY, Statista.com, Financialexpress.com, Ibef.org, Outlookindia.com, Businesstoday.in, Techsciresearch.com, Mordorintelligence.com, and multiple other information channels.