Health insurance companies are turning a corner

September 08, 2021

Part of our Health & Life Science Series

Although considered one of the more conservative industries in terms of digitisation, preparing to move into 2022, executives in the insurance business are embracing technology. Until recently, such executives have been known among global leaders to have the most trepidation towards the disruptive nature of technology [1], but in the advent of the public’s appetite for digital, more and more are discerning the value of technology in the trade. In fact, according to sector influencers who participated in the 22nd Annual Global CEO Survey conducted by PwC, the initial anxiety over digitisation has now transformed into optimism [2].

Under the influence of a number of factors – including the need for innovation and differentiation due to increased competition, the rapid advancement of technology in insurance, and demands surrounding the digital shift in consumer preferences – companies in the industry are exploring advancing technologies to improve both internal and client-facing processes [3]. And here’s what they’re looking into that you likewise might find helpful.

Emerging Digital Services

Entering the epoch of digital, research has identified three focus areas constituting the main trends in digitisation within the sector. And all have been found to perform processes around data. From collecting and understanding valuable information, to sharing it with stakeholders across the healthcare and insurance value chain, these efforts in digitisation are changing health insurance forever.

Online & Mobile Platform Development

Major players operating in the health & medical insurance industry are looking towards digital platforms to engage customers and provide comprehensive health insurance solutions to its customers. After significant, negative impact of the pandemic and the push of the current dominant patient group – millenials – to create a transactable digital space [3], companies in the industry are undergoing strategic digital reforms to capture, service, and expand their consumer base and geographical presence.

Replicating processes such as claims approval with improved efficiency, commonly offering information on new and existing products, and overall crafting a better navigable and personalised customer experience on the go, mobile and online platforms are taking over the patient market quickly. 

Additionally, the utilisation of digital platforms has become a game changer in data collection and management. This allows providers – with the confidence of patients – to collect, store, and consequently manage patient information in a centralised fashion. Not to mention how digital platforms have a hold of data that physical dealings were unable to perceive, record and maximise adequately. A good example of which is the number of policy information views that can potentially signal patient interest in policies or their lack of understanding of their own). And this is only one good example of why this move is making waves for insurance companies behind the scenes. 

Connect Smart Devices

The role of today’s insurer is changing toward a more preventive and digital or connected approach, and connected smart devices, apart from bolstering agility and scope of information collection, are making significant impact on both patient and provider fronts. With interconnected wearables that deploy IoT technologies working hand-in-hand with the aforementioned digital platforms, keeping score of patient health on the daily and forging healthier lifestyles in the long run is made both more effective and comprehensive. 

Increasing both patient and provider knowledge on real-time health status and lifestyle patterns through valuable data such as vital statistics and patient-logged status reports collected 24/7 through embedded increasing accurate sensory technologies and at the same time conveniently sending reminders on healthcare practices and risk-mitigating notifications on dangerous health levels, smart devices, have completely revolutionised and enriched how all stakeholders can effectively understand and take care of patient health. Moving beyond checkups and a post-incident sort of relationship, intelligent wearables are further cementing the positioning of companies in the industry as health partners as opposed to traditional ‘accident covers’ [4].

Big Data & Analytics

Enabling both digital platforms and wearable devices, among other systems, to maximise their functionality, big data and analytics is allowing health insurance providers to digest massive and increasing volumes of patient data, sort, sequence, process, and create actionable insights from them at scale at unparalleled speeds.

Turning each and every recorded interaction into an opportunity to understand both mass and individual behaviors, preferences, and other information, big data and analytics can pose a differentiator for an insurance company. With a grasp of what patients truly want and need that go beyond explicit information, health insurances can – at a level of their own – align, customise and build policies and consumer experiences that are truly customer-first.

Key Takeaway

In hindsight, the three focus areas all revolving around data demonstrate how data is truly the backbone of both insurance and digital spaces. And the only way to move forward successfully is employing the appropriate technologies and strategies that encompass each stage that creates value from it – management, analysis and taking action. Slowly but surely, moving out of one’s digital comfort zone to accommodate these insights will bring good things to even the most cautionary of businesses. Afterall, in any case, leveraging information can only benefit organisations.

Read more insights and see more of our work on health & life science

[1] Deloitte, “2021 insurance outlook: Accelerating recovery from the pandemic while pivoting to thrive”
[2] PwC, “Insurance trends 2019“
[3] CapGemini & World Insurance Report, “Digital Trends in the US Healthcare Insurance Industry”, 2020
[4] Silvello & Procaccini,  “Connected Insurance Reshaping the Health Insurance Industry”, 2019.

Other References:
Businesswire, “Global Health and Medical Insurance Market Report 2021: The Market is Forecast to Reach $653.4 billion in 2025 at a CAGR of 13.7% Following COVID-19 Recovery”, 2021
Reuters Events, “Digital Insurance: Technologies and Strategies Driving Insurance into the Connected Age”, 2020

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