Here’s why you should check your insurer’s persistency ratio before purchasing a policy

Here’s why you should check your insurer’s persistency ratio before purchasing a policy  25th January 2023

Seller credibility is a crucial factor that affects buying decisions. This is especially noticed in high-value assets and financial products. Since these are transactions involving large numbers and significant interest, it is a must to check the insurer's reliability, which becomes a greater priority in the case of insurance products.

Insurance is a critical product; therefore, before purchasing such policies, checking the insurer's past performance and customer satisfaction is essential to ensure that you choose the best policy.

*For your understanding, we’ll be talking in reference to purchasing a health insurance policy.

The insurer's persistency ratio measures customer satisfaction, making it an important factor when comparing policies offered by various online health insurance companies.

What is the persistency ratio?

The persistency ratio depicts brand loyalty and the continued interest of policyholders in availing of the insurer's services. It is the number of policies renewed compared to the policies issued by the insurer. This ratio may be calculated for a financial year or a continuous period.

Calculation of the persistency ratio.
This is a relatively easy ratio to derive through two methods. It is determined using the annual premiums paid or the number of renewed policies. For newly issued policies, it is calculated in the thirteenth month, after one year for which the insurance plan is valid.

What does the persistency ratio indicate?

A high persistency ratio indicates a favourable position for an insurance company. Apart from showing the number of renewed policies, it offers multiple takeaways, including

1. Customer satisfaction:
The clearest inference from the ratio is the rate of client satisfaction. It indicates the emphasis health insurance companies place on valuing their customer's needs and assessing circumstances when claims are raised. It is an effective way to measure the insurer's performance and ability to facilitate a seamless insurance experience from the enquiry stage up to after-sales services. With the broad range of insurance providers available, customers can choose amongst them based on each insurer's transparency, overall quality of services, and customer gratification.

2. Solvency position:
A business's perpetual functioning depends on its ability to generate and expand revenue streams. The primary revenue stream for online health insurance companies is through the sale of insurance policies. Insurance companies need lower liabilities and higher revenues to maintain a prudent solvency position as regulated by the IRDAI. The higher the persistency ratio, the better the cash inflow and the more favourable the solvency position.

3. Claim settlement position:
If policyholders feel content with the insurer's services, they are more likely to become loyal customers who renew their policies annually. This becomes more likely when the insurer has a high claim settlement rate, which indicates that the company makes the claim settlement process more accessible and resolves claims sooner. Claim settlement rate, persistency rate, and renewals are interlinked, resulting in reduced risk for the insurer and more significant funds at their disposal to settle claims.

Why insurers may have a low persistency ratio?

Like all other ratios that serve as a barometer of online health insurance companies' performance, potential consumers need to understand the possible causes behind the result, irrespective of a favourable or unfavourable ratio. This becomes especially important in case of a negative ratio, which may be caused by the following:

1. Poor after-sales and administration services offered by the insurer.

2. A low claim settlement ratio deters potential buyers from purchasing a policy since the possibility of getting compensated is low.

3. Lack of innovation puts the insurer's products at a disadvantage against other evolved products aligned with consumer demands.

The persistency ratio of online health insurance companies is ultimately a reflection of their ability to retain customers. It is an essential parameter that potential buyers must consider before purchasing their health insurance to ensure that a reliable insurer protects them with a sound claim settlement system and customer satisfaction rate.

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Disclaimer: The information provided above is for illustrative purposes only. To get more details, please refer to policy wordings and prospectus before purchasing a policy.