A report in 2019 entitled SheforShield: Ensure Women to Better Protect All1, estimated that the women’s market for insurance will grow up to $1.7 trillion by 2030, 50% of this is to come from emerging markets. There is an opportunity for insurers to supply insurance products that cover women’s specific needs.
We have seen a lack of products that are designed to specifically meet women’s needs. A woman’s health affects family, children, and society in general. Lately, we have seen an emergence in the number of launches of insurance products catering to women’s needs. The products offered go across the spectrum from life and health plans to group health, critical illness, and savings plans. Health insurers have partnered with insurtechs, other insurers and specialist organizations to offer services covering women’s health from periods to menopause.
Some life insurers offer plans specific to women. In Southeast Asia there is a slow recognition of the need for financial protection for women. Women’s role has traditionally been as a homemaker or housewife, and they may not necessarily produce any income. In India and the Philippines, a home maker can now be covered for the same amount as that of a working spouse.
This gender gap for women continues onto retirement. Women do not have the ability to save as much for retirement due to taking time off to start a family or simply because of the gender pay differences.
Insurers may well consider playing a role in developing savings plans or financial planning tools specific to women to help bridge this gap.
We will look at some of the women specific insurance products that are currently being offered.
In the health plan space, we have seen several launches of products specifically designed for women particularly in Southeast Asia.
In India the Star Women Care Insurance Policy is an example of a woman-centric comprehensive health cover specially designed to protect the healthcare needs of women at every stage of their lives. It is available as an individual policy and a floater policy to all females from 18 up to 75 years of age. Some of its special features include pre-acceptance medical screening, midterm inclusions, facility to purchase policy during pregnancy, reproduction, pregnancy care treatment, in-utero fetal surgery surgeries, hospitalization expense of newborn baby, vaccination, pediatrician/medical consultations, and preventive health check-ups.
A lot of these health plans concentrate on providing coverage for mother and child during and after birth. These health plans cover pregnancy and maternity complications and can include coverage for the child up to the age of seven. In Malaysia, health plans are usually prenatal riders that provide coverage for both women and baby starting from 13 weeks of pregnancy. They also provide protection against pregnancy related complications, can provide hospital cash and a lump sum payment in the event of cancer.
In Singapore, the Maternity Insurance Plan for Mother and Child is the first maternity plan to cover mental illness, other insurers also offer coverage for assisted pregnancies such as in vitro fertilization (IVF).
In Thailand, the majority of women are usually the decision makers regarding financial products in the household. Women spend more on healthcare and education of their families. Krungthai AXA Life (KTAXA) has designed products for women to cover pregnancy and maternity complications.
We have also seen the emergence of modular health plans being offered where policyholders can pick and choose specific benefits they need based on needs and requirements. Women have unique healthcare needs in the areas of reproduction, sexual health, maternity care, and preventative care. Bajaj Allianz’s “My Health Care” plan has inbuilt maternity and baby care cover. Health plans geared towards younger women empower them to actively manage their health. Aditya Birla Health Activift is an example that includes coverage for maternity benefits, normal delivery, C-section delivery, and newborn baby expenses. In India, the FG Health Absolute plan offers an additional girl child benefit where the maternity sum assured is increased on the birth of a girl child.
Insurers offering group health plans have gradually introduced more benefits specifically relating to women’s health. They have partnered with health companies, insurtechs and specialists’ providers to provide advice and support from periods to menopause. They offer benefits that cover the topics of fertility, pregnancy, early childhood, breast cancer, cervical cancer, nutrition, menopause, and general wellbeing.
Insurers that offer wellness programs such as Vitality give points for undertaking preventative care services. Women who look after their health by participating in preventative checks such as cancer screenings, vaccinations, Pap smears, mammograms, and bone density scans.
In the U.S., recent partnerships and programs with health insurers include Anthem and Happify Health, Centene and its Start Smart for your Baby program, and Wildflower and the Healthcare Transformation Consortium (HTC) partnership.
Anthem and Happify Health have designed a sequence for maternal health. A Sequence is defined as a digital experience configured to support a specific medical condition. This sequence will give the customer access to Happify Health’s online community covering obstetrics, gynecologists, and dieticians.
Centene and its Superior's Start Smart for Your Baby program provides health education for pregnant people to help improve maternal and newborn health and reduce the risk of birth defects. The program also incorporates care management, care coordination, and health education to improve maternal and infant health. Programs include a breastfeeding program, 24/7 nurse advice line, and an obstetrics care management program.
Wildflower’s unique maternity bundle comprises a package of comprehensive digital tools to help doctors, nurses, and other caregivers assist women with care needs ranging from prenatal to postnatal. Wildflower’s platform also includes educational content and tools.
In Mexico, a platform called WOOW, offers all kinds of insurance in a digital environment and has adapted its services and products to the specific needs of women. This platform includes the Hospital Medical Expenses Insurance (SGMH) plan which offers cover for maternity, childbirth or caesarean section, pregnancy complications, and newborn care. Bupa Mexico also offers the Mommy Care program, which was created to accompany women during pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum. This product covers everything from the coordination of medical appointments, check-ups and pregnancy follow-ups to expenses related to maternity and childbirth complications. The program offers coverage for the baby from seven to 90 days, and nursing care coverage for the first three nights at home.
In the U.K., we have seen private health insurers such as Bupa, AXA, Unum, and Aviva offer enhanced Group offerings including the ones specific for women. Bupa has partnered with the charity Wellbeing of Women to offer a Menopause Plan. The plan gives women 45 minutes with a trained menopause general practitioner (GP) who will develop a personalized plan for managing symptoms. The plan also gives access to a 24/7 nurse-led health line for a year. The Bupa’s Women’s health hub also offers information and guidance on topics from periods to menopause.
Bupa also offers Period Plan, a new pathway that offers fast access to women’s health experts to support common conditions such as endometriosis. Bupa has also partnered with Tommy’s helpline, run by midwives, which gives advice to the pregnant person and their partner.
AXA Health offers expert insights on a range of female health-related topics. The insurer has also teamed up with Peppy to offer fertility, early parenthood, and menopause support services for employees. It offers unlimited access to practical support and information from experts via Peppy’s digital health app. Employees can book a private one-to-one, 40-minute phone or video consultation with a practitioner specializing in fertility, menopause, or perinatal support. The service covers coping with anxiety, infant feeding, hormone replacement therapy (HRT), and management strategies, such as diet and exercise.
Aviva has also enhanced its group offerings to include family planning, fertility services, and new menopause services. These services are available via the Aviva Digital app. The digital hub provides tips and support for menopausal symptoms and a symptom assessment tool.
In Australia, AIA Australia has partnered with the Australasian Menopause Association a group of doctors and allied health professionals who are driving awareness about the commonly overlooked life stage of menopause. AIA’s claims data demonstrates that women in the 45-55 age bracket are 50% more likely to experience depression or anxiety than men. Statistical data also shows that this age group has a high risk of suicide. Nib, another private insurer, took a major position in Midnight Health a digital health startup. Midnight Health launched the Youly platform in February 2021 that provides a range of women’s health and treatment packages. It provides delivery of the morning-after pill together with other healthcare needs, such as the contraceptive pill, thrush, sleep, and HSV-2 treatments.
Critical Illness Plans
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), breast and cervical cancer are the leading causes of women’s ill health. So we now see the emergence of critical illness (CI) plans that cover specific cancers relating to women, such as ovarian cancer, vaginal cancer, breast cancer, and cervical cancer.
In China, Waterdrop has launched insurance against breast cancer recurrence. The policy is for people between 18 to 65 years of age. It is open to people with stage 0 to stage III cancer diagnosis.
In the U.K., RGA launched Plan V Care, a digital cancer-only product designed for women, in partnership with Covéa Life and Direct Life and Pensions. Cancer is a top concern for women in the U.K. aged between 28 to 38.
In India, a recent product launch is the "Women Cancer Care Solution - Pink Health" plan by Union Bank of India. Under the scheme, a customer can be insured between Rs 10 lakh to Rs 30 lakh, and the scheme provides lump sum payout upon diagnosis of breast cancer, cervical cancer, and ovarian cancer. Other features of CI in India include being able to cover all the women in their family in one cover. Additional features include plans that include child education bonus, vehicle loan protection and personal accident cover.
In Malaysia, A-Life Lady is a comprehensive insurance plan that specifically designated for women and covers female illness care, female cancer, and pregnancy benefits. A-Life Lady is a comprehensive takaful for women that give full coverage to female illness, pregnancy benefits, unexpected events, and permanent disability.
In the Philippines, the plan called "PRUHealth Prime-Select Breast Cancer" comes in two packages. A one-time premium of P150 provides a lump sum amount of P10,000 upon diagnosis while a one-time premium of P425 offers a lump sum amount of P10,000 upon diagnosis and a guaranteed lump sum amount of P20,000 when undergoing a mastectomy or lumpectomy. This is valid for one year.
In Sri Lanka, the 11th edition of Liya Harasara will offer an additional free life cover of up to Rs. 1 million for one year from HNB Assurance for Regular Premium Life Insurance policies. Moreover, a daily benefit for childbirth and pregnancy-related hospitalization subject to a maximum of three days per year would be offered to the policyholder. Liya Harasara offers a free personal accident cover up to Rs. 500,000 for every motor insurance policy obtained by females from HNBGI.
The most common severe illness amongst South African women is cancer according to the claims data from Discovery Life. As a Discovery Life client, women of all ages can take advantage of Vitality health checks along with regular check-ups with their GPs, gynecologists, and other specialists. Platinum Life in South Africa also offers a female cancer policy. The female cancer benefit will be payable upon diagnosis of any of the eight female cancers mentioned under cover: breast, vaginal, cervical, uterine, kidney, bladder, ovarian, and fallopian tube. The lump sum paid can be used to cover other things other than medical bills, it is at the customer’s discretion. Liberty also offers a female-specific CI policy called Female Living Lifestyle that complements the main CI policy.
Mammograms, Pap smears, diabetes, and blood pressure checks, among others, are crucial screening options that can make a difference in reducing disease severity.