Adventure sports in India
Adventure sports market in India is a relatively small market as compared to the overall tourism industry. India sees an estimated growth of USD 75 million according to a survey by a trade body. Also in the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, there has been an extended support to promote extreme sports in the country. So far, adventure sports have not been so popular among the Indian population, but certainly, it has the potential to bring in reform in lifestyle of people. Therefore, now the industry believes that the government could play a potential role for its development.
Accidents and their severity
Due to limited tourist attraction, the insurance companies have not yet emerged with the solution of providing insurance cover for accidents during adventure activity. As the population drawn is quite small in number, the rate of accidents is high. Although, activities like white water rafting which is one of the most famous and most sought after in the country, reports maximum number of accidents. In the last four years, Rishikesh river rafting has led to death incident of only about 4-5 people and the reasons are mainly due to inefficiency of thrill seekers. Paragliding and parasailing activities have also started emerging and attract a considerable number of tourists these days. Faulty equipment and sudden gust of wind are the main reasons of accidents for such activities. Few sky diving, hot air balloon and bungee jumping accidents have been reported in India.
Insurance in foreign countries
Insurance is now in demand in this industry because gradually a lot of people are participating in extreme sports and the government also seems interested in promoting the same. It is interesting to know that adventure sports are covered by insurance companies in the western countries. They are mainly tagged along with travel insurance plan and cover almost all the adventure activities. The benefit of the plan can be availed easily on occurrence of any such mishap.
Situation in India
Insurers in India generally do not cover any adventure sports and normally remain in the exclusion of the insurance cover. But very recently, Bajaj Allianz General has started providing an add-on for adventure sports. It provides a lump sum benefit policy covering accident risks. The plans are provided only in case of offline policies. But the risks are covered only for as much as INR 1 crore even if the sum insured for base policy may be much more, but claim payout will be only INR 1 crore in case of death or permanent disability. Moreover, the plan does not provide for any cover for partial disability and temporary injuries.
Also, the plan does not cover professional sports and is mainly for amateur thrill seekers under professional guides. Activities like winter sports, mountaineering, caving, sky diving, scuba diving, rafting in white water rapids, sailing yachts etc. are covered under this.
In a nutshell, the insurance agencies are yet to open their arms for adventure industry. Considering the growth in Adventure industry in India, it may be a great business opportunity for them.
Expectation: Easy and flexible insurance
It is expected that more and more adventure seekers would be allured to extreme sports. People nowadays have started keeping adventure activity on their vacation itineraries. So, the insurance companies must now start covering adventure sports and preferably include it in the travel insurance plans. In that case the premium amount can be lowered and made easy to avail by people barring any age or class just like provided by Indian Railway through ICICI Lombard. Passengers are getting maximum insurance cover of Rupees Ten Lakhs (1 million) by paying one time insurance premium of Rupee 1 while booking ticket.
Ever more professional guides are joining adventure services, using advanced equipment and adhering to safety guidelines thereby ensuring reduction in risk and accidents. This is the right time for Insurance sector to embrace the budding industry and encourage more participation by ensuring financial security of the adventure seekers.