Med­i­cal Health & In­sur­ance

for Health In­sur­ance Mar­ket­ing Strate­gies

Insurance - - CONTENTS - by Dr Wil­liem Hoe­sen MHA is a Med­i­cal Client Mar­ket Man­ager of Swiss Re, Asia

In this is­sue, the Fo­cus sec­tion takes a look at global pan­demic trends that are threat­en­ing the lives of peo­ple around the world and how th­ese im­pact the medicine, health­care and in­sur­ance in­dus­tries. Ad­di­tion­ally, in­sur­ers are re­quired to adapt their mar­ket­ing strate­gies for med­i­cal in­sur­ance prod­ucts to con­sumer be­hav­iour for greater ef­fec­tive­ness and reach. We also pro­fes­sional med­i­cal per­spec­tives about the chal­lenges the med­i­cal pro­fes­sion ex­pe­ri­ences with in­sur­ers with re­gards to in­sur­ance claims.

Mar­ket­ing strate­gies should adapt to con­sumer be­hav­iour to more ef­fec­tively reach the con­sumers. Con­sumer be­hav­iour in­volves ser­vices and ideas as well as tan­gi­ble prod­ucts. Nowa­days, there are many choices of health in­sur­ance prod­ucts, just as there are with smart phones. But con­sumers can cat­e­gorise their smart phones op­tions into tan­gi­ble di­men­sions, such as screen size, dis­play res­o­lu­tion, cam­era qual­ity, bat­tery life, and many other fea­tures they un­der­stand.

The con­sumers can line up op­tions and com­pare area of cov­er­age, co-in­sur­ance, de­ductibles, an­nual lim­its, life time lim­its, and many other health in­sur­ance prod­uct fea­tures, too. But choos­ing health in­sur­ance isn’t as ex­cit­ing as get­ting a new smart phone. Of­ten the con­sumers find dif­fi­cul­ties to un­der­stand the in­sur­ance plan op­tions, pol­icy ex­clu­sions, fi­nan­cial risks, and un­der­writ­ing re­quire­ments. Mar­ket­ing health in­sur­ance should give more vi­su­al­i­sa­tion of use of the in­sur­ance prod­uct fea­tures, in par­tic­u­lar the fea­tures that could read­ily ben­e­fit con­sumers if they act on it. For ex­am­ple, giv­ing re­ward points to off­set in­sur­ance pre­mi­ums when con­sumers spend for less fat, less sugar foods, or when di­a­betic con­sumers con­trol their blood sugar lev­els within ac­cept­able thresh­olds.

Lim­i­ta­tions in con­sumer knowl­edge or in­for­ma­tion pro­cess­ing abil­i­ties in­flu­ence de­ci­sions and mar­ket­ing out­come. Get­ting con­sumers’ at­ten­tion is what mar­ket­ing cam­paigns gen­er­ally aim to achieve. But to ef­fec­tively con­vert it into prod­uct sales, the cam­paigns must get the ideas across to con­sumers. It is im­por­tant to be able to demon­strate ben­e­fits of health in­sur­ance prod­uct fea­tures for con­sumers through­out their life jour­neys, start­ing right when they buy the prod­uct (e.g. with cus­tomer friendly un­der­writ­ing), when con­sumers are in their ac­tive life (e.g. ev­ery­day re­wards for healthy be­hav­iours), when they need med­i­cal care (e.g. per­son­alised ser­vice as­sis­tance), when they are in re­cov­ery stages (e.g. spe­cial ben­e­fits to en­cour­age speed re­cov­er­ies), and so on. In most cases, con­sumers would only re­mem­ber about their health in­sur­ance when they re­ceive no­tices about their health in­sur­ance pol­icy re­newals and when they need to sub­mit their med­i­cal claims. In be­tween the two oc­ca­sions, there is no mean­ing­ful en­gage­ment with them. The “no en­gage­ment time” is usu­ally the time when the con­sumers are most likely in their healthy ac­tive life stages. This pe­riod could be filled in with pro­duc­tive en­gage­ments with the con­sumers to keep the health in­sur­ance prod­ucts vis­i­ble and rel­e­vant in their life jour­neys. For ex­am­ple, prompt­ing reg­u­lar re­minders to use well­ness ben­e­fits if cov­ered by the in­sur­ance prod­ucts, pro­vid­ing quar­terly news up­dates on pre­ferred panel med­i­cal fa­cil­i­ties with spe­cial of­fers for in­sured mem­bers, send­ing cal­en­dar of up­com­ing health pro­grammes in town, and so forth. Mak­ing the best use of new tech­nol­ogy could help to keep the prod­uct rel­e­vant to tech­nol­ogy savvy con­sumers. Most of the time the tech­nol­ogy based com­mu­ni­ca­tion plat­form is used to re­spond to con­sumer’s feed­backs. It will be a bet­ter use of the tech­nol­ogy if it could fa­cil­i­tate pro-ac­tive and in­ter­ac­tive en­gage­ments with con­sumers. For ex­am­ple, pub­lish­ing short sto­ries about bad and good con­sumers’ ex­pe­ri­ences with med­i­cal claims, pro­mot­ing con­sumer’s ac­cess to an on­line self health risk as­sess­ment tool, and re­ward­ing el­i­gi­ble con­sumers with bet­ter in­sur­ance terms, health points, etc. Sim­i­lar com­mu­ni­ca­tion could also be es­tab­lished through other forms of so­cial me­dia to reach a broader con­sumer base such as health talks on TV/ra­dio and fit­ness

pro­grammes spon­sored by health in­sur­ance to pro­mote healthy life style. The cy­cle of in­for­ma­tion through such in­ter­ac­tive com­mu­ni­ca­tion chan­nels can also feed­back into im­prove­ments and ideation for new prod­uct en­hance­ment/de­vel­op­ment. Mar­ket­ing suc­cess is de­liv­ered with a mix of mar­ket­ing strate­gies, not solely re­ly­ing on one. Like in the football in­dus­try, Manch­ester United Football Club’s mar­ket­ing mix com­prises of many in­gre­di­ents, not only play­ing and win­ning in an ex­cit­ing way, but also mer­chan­dis­ing such as the sale of shirts, and a range of mem­o­ra­bilia, hav­ing its own range of sales me­dia (e.g. TV pro­gramme, ra­dio pro­gramme, etc.), en­gag­ing in a range of joint pro­mo­tional ac­tiv­i­ties, for ex­am­ple with in­sur­ance com­pany ING, and po­si­tion­ing or repo­si­tion­ing its prod­uct within a mar­ket tar­get­ing younger con­sumers or older con­sumers, etc. The in­no­va­tion must be done sys­tem­at­i­cally with a good vi­su­al­i­sa­tion of con­sumer be­hav­iours. The phe­nom­e­nal suc­cess of the Korean wave in the world en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try gives a good les­son about this. The Korean wave has been a bless­ing for South Korea, both eco­nom­i­cally and cul­tur­ally. It is sig­nif­i­cantly con­tribut­ing to the coun­try’s eco­nomic growth, and help­ing to build and sus­tain aware­ness of Korea and bol­ster the coun­try's im­age. Such a phe­nom­e­nal mar­ket­ing suc­cess is achieved through plan­ning, train­ing, and man­age­ment of their fu­ture ac­tiv­i­ties. They have cre­ated a sys­tem of nur­tur­ing artists ac­cord­ing to in­di­vid­ual char­ac­ter­is­tics and mar­ket needs. Be­fore a mar­ket­ing strat­egy can be de­vel­oped and ar­tic­u­lated, a lot of back­ground work has to be com­pleted in­clud­ing sit­u­a­tional/data/mar­ket analy­ses, stake­holder in­puts, cus­tomer seg­men­ta­tion and value propo­si­tions. When a health in­sur­ance prod­uct would re­quire in­di­vid­ual med­i­cal un­der­writ­ing, the un­der­writ­ing process might not be ef­fec­tive to screen con­sumers and de­ter­mine the right risks in the mar­ket where non-dis­clo­sure rates are gen­er­ally very high. Rather than wast­ing time and re­sources to go through that risk screen­ing process, the prod­uct should be de­signed and priced to take higher risk of high an­ti­s­e­lec­tion bal­anced with greater ease of mem­ber ac­qui­si­tion with very sim­pli­fied un­der­writ­ing or no med­i­cal un­der­writ­ing re­quire­ments aim­ing to quickly achieve a vi­able crit­i­cal mass of mem­ber base cou­pled with poli­cies and pro­cesses to man­age pre-ex­ist­ing con­di­tion claims. If cus­tomer seg­ments could be clearly de­fined, then health in­sur­ance prod­ucts de­signed and priced for each con­sumer seg­ment could be of­fered on a pre-ap­proved ba­sis with min­i­mal un­der­writ­ing re­quire­ments and in­stant pol­icy is­suance. The ul­ti­mate goal here is to mar­ket the prod­uct bet­ter and faster than com­peti­tors. Th­ese two il­lus­tra­tions ex­em­plify a mar­ket­ing strat­egy de­signed with an un­der­stand­ing of par­tic­u­lar mar­ket sit­u­a­tions and with cal­cu­lated risk tak­ing to de­light con­sumers. As with For­mula One rac­ing cars, a per­fect co­or­di­na­tion of ac­cel­er­at­ing, brak­ing and cor­ner­ing wins the race. Sim­i­larly, the in­no­va­tive mar­ket­ing strate­gies for health in­sur­ance prod­ucts needs to be co­or­di­nated and bal­anced ac­cord­ing to mar­ket cir­cum­stances and con­sumer be­hav­iours. The think­ing that in­no­va­tion for health in­sur­ance mar­ket­ing strate­gies has to be a rar­efied skill is flawed. In­no­va­tion must make com­mon sense to get the prod­uct ideas across to con­sumers and to bring the prod­uct value propo­si­tions into their daily life ex­pe­ri­ence.

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