The Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has proposed a number of measures to expand the scope of insurance in the Budget 2018.
Here is what the heads of insurance companies have to say about the Union Budget 2018.
Pankaj Razdan, CEO, Aditya Birla Sun Life Insurance
A tax neutral budget for the life insurance industry also offers more credit play for the insurance companies. Additionally, ULIP emerges as a beneficial long term investment option under the new tax regime. Finance Minister's move to merge and consolidate all the smaller insurance companies augurs well for the insurance industry. An overall economic growth and more people joining the formal economy will definitely give impetus to the growth of the life insurance sector.
Tarun Chugh, CEO, Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance
As widely expected, Long Term Capital Gain Tax in equities has been introduced, however, it will not be disruptive given the way it has been implemented with grandfathering clause. Equity still remains the lowest taxed investment vehicle and LTCG Tax will not impact the growing equity and SIP culture amongst retail investors. Overall, it is a neutral budget and a win-win for all.
While there has been no revision in the tax slabs for individuals apart from Rs.40,000 standard deduction for salaried class for medical and travel-related expenses, various incentives and deductions have been provided to senior citizens. We would recommend policyholders to stay invested and pay their premiums regularly to benefit from the uptick in the economic growth over the coming years.
One of the key announcements proposed is the judicious health cover of Rs. 5 lakh for hospitalization under the National Health Protection Scheme, which has been regarded by the Finance Minister as the world’s largest government funded health care programme. This is a progressive move by the Government towards bringing more number of people under the ambit of health insurance. It will incentivize the common people on the need of a health insurance cover, and help boost the penetration level
Mayank Bathwal, CEO, Aditya Birla Health Insurance
The announcement towards building a holistic healthcare protection ecosystem is a revolutionary move. The health insurance claims in the country today contributes to nearly 5 percent of the total healthcare spends, clearly reflecting that most of the citizens in the country are either under-insured or un-insured. The announcement of National Healthcare protection scheme reinforces government's commitment towards providing healthcare protection solutions and mitigating the financial uncertainties of vulnerable families in the country. Additionally, Finance Minister's proposal to raise a deduction under health insurance premium to Rs. 50,000 and Rs. 1 lakh for senior citizens with critical illnesses, along with the allocation of additional funds under the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojna will provide a fresh impetus to the adoption of protection solutions in the country.
Bhargav Dasgupta, CEO, ICICI Lombard General Insurance
The Government has focused on inclusive measures in the budget, targeting critical areas of agriculture, education, health, power among others. On health insurance, the introduction of Rs.5 lakh cover for families and increase in medical insurance tax exemption for senior citizens indicate the focus of policy makers to ensure adequate protection against health hazards for India’s populace.
Mahavir Chopra, Director - Health, Life and Strategic Initiatives, Coverfox.com
The Finance Minister's reinforced thrust on digital India through measures like Wi-Fi Hotspots in rural areas will significantly increase internet penetration making India the largest internet enabled population in the world. Access to internet will create skilled jobs in rural areas, avoid migration, and increase reach of rural population to services (like insurance) available only in cities beyond reach.
While the increase in the health insurance deduction is a great step, given the recent hike in health insurance premiums for senior citizens, from an Insurance industry’s standpoint, the budget has not been encouraging. We were expecting waiver of GST for senior citizen health insurance, tax sops for insurance products like home and term life insurance (extremely low on penetration) that provide super-essential and currently absent financial security to the middle-class population at large.