Employers with workforces in India are facing practical and financial hurdles in implementing or renewing Group Term Life Insurance policies in India as the aftershocks of the COVID-19 pandemic are felt in all aspects of society. With many insurers declining to renew existing plans or cover new populations, or revising benefit structures and insured limits, employers must carefully consider the structure, eligibility, and affordability of benefits in India during the remainder of 2021 and beyond.

Due to the volatility in India over the past two years, combined with the country’s relatively underdeveloped employee benefits market, Sequoia and our local broker partner, Prudent have observed the following changes to India’s life insurance landscape:

  • A hardening insurance marketplace and rising premiums, worse case being 10x that of the prior year
  • Increases in minimum group size threshold i.e., >50 employee schemes, varying by provider
  • Mandated changes in plan design and salary multiples
  • Incumbent insurers refusal to offer renewal terms
  • Limited appetite for new schemes, even amongst even well-established insurance pooling partners

Actions employers should consider

  • Compare the liability and cost versus the benefit of self-insurance in the event that coverage cannot be issued
  • Pre-fund local bank accounts to expedite payment of insurance invoices, in the event that renewal invitations are delayed and local markets require invoices to be paid prior to coverage commencing. Current payment process may also need to be circumvented

Engage legal counsel if changes to a contractual benefit promise are being considered.

Key points to remember

  • Employers are required to collect COVID vaccine information and COVID sickness/recovery for all employees
  • Employees may be required to undertake medical underwriting before insurers will guarantee coverage for their full benefit entitlement
  • The market moves quickly, and policies are provided on an annual basis. Delayed employer decisions on renewal or failure to settle invoices in the required timeframes can prove costly as many insurers are increasing premiums
  • All employers should prepare for lapse in coverage before plans are back in force

Sequoia Global Consulting offers consulting support in over 130 countries. If you have further questions regarding this notice, please reach out to your Sequoia Consultant, or connect with them directly in HRX.


Rochelle Spencer, MBA — As the UK Director of Global Consulting for Sequoia, Rochelle has assisted multinational companies with the management of their global benefit strategy and execution for over ten years. Rochelle has worked with employers of all sizes and sectors, holding deep expertise across global benefits governance, expatriate benefits, merger and acquisition support, global benefits brokerage coordination, and wellbeing.