Digital consumers are defining the new normal in health insurance

Covid-19 has disrupted businesses forcing them to re-think how they engage with customers.

The pandemic offers a unique opportunity to re-engineer the medical insurance business model. Although the financial impact of the pandemic on the medical insurance industry remains uncertain, Covid-19 will likely remain a major health risk to individuals, families and communities into the future.

Responding to the crisis, insurers are scaling up their digital capabilities to stay connected with clients, achieve greater process, efficiency and adapt to new social and work environments.

The insurance industry was already undergoing digital disruption even before Covid-19.

But as the social, health and economic impacts of the disease intensify, the digital transformation of the sector has acquired new impetus.

From a medical underwriting, we are talking of digital empowerment of clients to make decisions regarding their health, lifestyle and well being.

In the digital era, consumers have access to more information but still desire a simple, convenient, and personalised experience when interacting with service providers.

This requires a customer-centric digital approach as opposed to adding new technologies to existing processes. Emerging trends reveal that more people want to buy insurance and track claims via digital devices.

Digital consumers are also well-informed and want quick and relevant information to share their experiences with companies and products online.

A recent survey by consulting firm PwC shows that 68 per cent of consumers would be willing to download and use an app from their insurance provider. About 70 per cent did some form of digital research before purchasing insurance, while 25 per cent bought insurance online.

 Digital analytics

These trends show the future of insurance is indeed digital. Covid-19 is just accelerating digitisation of insurance.

Besides improving the customer experience, digital analytics and automation help insurers gain deeper insights into client behaviour and thus price risk better.   With such valuable data, insurers can develop better products that match the lifestyle profiles of their customers.

For instance, at AAR Insurance, we are seeing increased purchase and renewal of medical insurance using online platforms. Due to coronavirus, more clients and not just tech-savvy youth, now appreciate the benefits of digital insurance.

With 80 per cent of our employees working remotely, almost all our processes are now conducted online.

While we previously relied on manual verification of claims, we are now able to vet invoices and pay claims online within 48 hours.

 In collaboration with e-health service providers MyDawa and CheckUps, we have introduced a home delivery service for prescription drugs so that our clients, especially for those with non-communicable conditions or vulnerable to the coronavirus.

This minimises hospital visits and ensures they adhere to medication.  Adopting a digital model improves business productivity and efficiency.

Digital health insurance enables efficient service delivery, enabling patients to track expenses and prevent over-billing and fictitious medical claims.

-The writer is the Managing Director, AAR Insurance Kenya