The recent Qorus Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards highlighted the world’s leading insurance changemakers. The winners of each category stood up against tough competition with initiatives that were not only innovative, but effective and with measurable impact. In this blog series, I will be delving a bit deeper into each category, illustrating how each winner is at the forefront of innovation. Before we begin, you may notice a change – Efma recently changed its name to Qorus to reflect its global relevance in the financial services landscape and reinforce its focus on the community.
It’s important to contextualize any discussion on innovation with the forces currently driving the insurance landscape. New emerging risks and a transforming risk landscape present new risks (environmental, climate change) and opportunities (cyber, new digital economies, new infrastructure) for insurers. The convergence of industries and rising ecosystems is driving product innovation, new distribution systems and players. Together, these elements are collaborating to expand the value proposition of insurers, from reactive risk indemnification to proactive and ongoing risk prevention and mitigation. Also, the new business environment we are in, which includes higher inflation rates and a potentially recessionary environment, will require innovations to also address efficiency/bottom-line objectives to the benefit of both insurers and policyholders (the Discovery case is a good illustration).
On top of this, we have witnessed healthcare becoming a central trend. Accenture’s Insurance Revenue Landscape 2025: Innovate for resilience study anticipates enormous revenue opportunities for insurers from health/wellness and life products and services.
In a recent survey, Redefining Wellness: Global Survey Sheds New Light on Opportunities for Insurers, RGA, a life and health reinsurer, found that an overwhelming number of insurers – 85% – reported making wellness a ‘priority’ and an integral part of the solutions being developed to support customer needs, with nearly 3/5 of respondents incorporating wellness into product offerings, including insurance-linked wellness programs, technologies, and tools.
Connected Ecosystems & Marketplaces – AIA (Thailand)
This insurance shift towards wellbeing is evident in our Connected Ecosystems & Marketplaces 2022 category, which celebrates innovative practices that give rise to new business models, scalable end-to-end value propositions that capitalize on the power of partnerships, platforms and the Internet of Things. The category winner, AIA (Thailand) received the award for its ALive mobile application. This ecosystem of health and wellness offerings aims to put community at its core by supporting young families and helping them lead healthier, longer and better lives.
Prashant Agarwal, Head of Digital Marketing, AIA Group, says “Life and health are two areas where the insurer’s commercial objectives and the consumer’s personal ones overlap completely. The healthier you are and longer you live, the better the insurer does too. Therefore, wellness is the outcome customers seek, but it is simply better business too. We embrace shared value as a fundamental principle of how we operate, expanding well beyond the role a transactional payer of claims, to a relational partner to our customers’ throughout their life and health journeys. This creates a triple win: for the customer, AIA, and society, alleviating the burden of a public health crisis for governments.”
Product & Service Innovation – Discovery Health
In the Product & Service Innovation award, this year’s winners Discovery, a life and health insurer from South Africa, illustrated the power of innovation with the customer at the centre with its Discovery Hospital at Home innovation. The product provides an alternative care setting for a range of medical and post-surgical conditions that would otherwise require hospital admission.
Dr Botho Mhozya, Head of Health Professional Risk and Hospital at Home, Discovery Health says, “Globally, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digital healthcare technologies by patients and healthcare providers and driven the proliferation of virtual / “at Home” care delivery. Accenture’s 2020 Digital Health Consumer Survey found that patients embraced virtual care during the pandemic, with the majority finding virtual care as good or better than in-person care. Approximately 60% of these patients would want to use technology and virtual care more going forward. At Discovery, the increased adoption of digital healthcare has been evidenced by the exponential increase in the use of telemedicine with Discovery Connected Care logins having increased by 763% since 2019. This increased adoption of digital healthcare globally and the need to ease the burden on increasingly overwhelmed healthcare systems, highlighted the patient’s home as an important and relevant setting for delivering healthcare. This presented a unique opportunity for technology to enable delivery of safe, efficient, and convenient hospital-level clinical care in a home environment.”
Discovery Health launched Discovery Hospital at Home to provide an alternative setting of care for members diagnosed with COVID-19. More than 100 members of the Discovery Health Medical Scheme were successfully treated for COVID-19 in their homes during 2021, all with the same or improved levels of clinical outcomes and a better patient experience. In January 2022, the programme eligibility criteria were expanded to include all clinically appropriate medical and post-surgical conditions that would otherwise require admission to a hospital for general ward level of care. The programme was further expanded to ensure national availability of the service and the capacity extended to enable admission of up to 750 patients at any given time. This makes it the largest hospital at home provider in South Africa.
Mhozya adds, “The pandemic also showed us that controllable behaviours drive outcomes of not only non-communicable diseases but communicable diseases as well, with global research demonstrating that more than 50% of COVID-19 related deaths are attributed to individuals with three or more comorbidities. Business models that help make people healthier, while simultaneously lowering the price of insurance, therefore have the potential to make a profound contribution to society by building resilience against both non-communicable and communicable diseases and helping individuals and healthcare systems weather severe shocks. The rise in availability and adoption of digital healthcare tools is also enabling insurers to gather more data, and offer more targeted health interventions, than ever before.”
The customer need for seamless, remote experiences extends beyond healthcare. The combination of demographic and socio-cultural changes, together with greater technological capabilities are driving insurers to upgrade their insurance solutions to more transparent, personalized, seamless, and omni-channel products and services across the board. For example, the use of intelligent technologies is transforming the way the insurance industry approaches claims. And this is not only to the benefit of younger digital-savvy customers. As reported in the latest Accenture Insurance Global Consumer Study, older consumers show an increasing preference for digital claims with 71% saying they would like the internet chat/video insurance claim process to replace the traditional in-office claim process.
Customer Experience – Allianz Partners
This shift comes through in the winner of the Re-imagining the Customer Experience 2022 award – Allianz Partners’ Visi’ Home. José Antonio Molleda, Global Head of Product Management and Innovation Home Assistance at Allianz Partners says, “The pandemic put pressure on homes as they transformed into a school, an office, a childcare facility, and everything in between. In this context, unexpected problems at home can be especially stressful: electrics, gas dysfunction, heating breakdown, etc. At Allianz Partners we act as guardian angels protecting what really matters, by combining digital intuitive solutions and the human touch to truly build exceptional experiences throughout key moments of our customers’ life. Based on this ethos we created a product that, through remote home assistance, connects customers with a professional claim handler at any time, providing immediate diagnosis of the problem and professional guidance to fix it on the spot when it is possible, or directly setting an appointment with the right craftsman.”
Visi´Home was launched in July 2021, delivering promising results in the first three months. He adds, “First call resolution rate increased by 18%, while resolution time was dramatically reduced, resulting in an enhanced overall customer experience. Customers value convenience the most, right after immediacy and empathy from our expert claim handlers. By fixing the problem on the spot through remote assistance and without the intervention of a craftsman, customers can have it all. Last but not least, Visi´Home allows a significant reduction in CO2 emissions through 15% of avoided interventions which has also been positively received by our customers.”
As these three Innovation in Insurance winners show, aligning to customer needs and using technology strategically can open up new channels of value. Look out for the next article in the series where I will discuss the leaders of the other categories.
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