Max India sells its stake in Max Bupa but policyholders needn’t worry


Max India Limited has informed stock exchanges that the regulator – Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) – has given the green light to the company to sell its entire stake in Max Bupa Health Insurance Company Ltd.

Max Bupa Health Insurance Company Ltd. is a joint venture between Max India Limited and the UK-based healthcare services expert, Bupa. Max India’s entire stake in the joint venture is bought by Fettle Tone LLP, an affiliate of True North Fund VI LLP).

For the Max Bupa policyholders, there’s nothing to worry about as the insurance regulator protects the interests of existing customers whenever ownership of a company changes hands. The regulator does not allow any arbitrary changes in the product. Any product change has to go through IRDAI for approval, for which, the regulator asks for justification. Once the regulator approves the changes, the insurer has to inform all its customers about the changes 120 days before the implementation, according to the norms.

Similarly, if a company decides to discontinue a product, the regulation states that the insurer needs to offer the customer another product that has the similar or better features compared to the plan that it wants to terminate. There are also regulations for hiking of premiums. Usually, insurance companies hike premium based on different factors such as medical cost inflation and the loss they face. It is an exercise that insurance company conduct regularly and requires regulatory approval. Irrespective of change in ownership, insurers need to follow this laid down procedure.

If a policyholder has accumulated any bonus due to no-claims in a policy year, insurers are mandated to honour the accumulated bonuses and benefits. Even for a change in the name of a product, the insurer needs to take approval from the regulator. A change in ownership in unlikely to cause any major changes for the policyholders however aspects like customer service may see some change with ownership changing hands.

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