RGA provides quarterly updates on global product developments, which can be made available upon request. View the 4Q 2021 digital newsletter.
The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated innovation in insurance products and hastened the move to digital processes.
While some transformations were temporary solutions in the midst of a global crisis, some are likely to have a permanent home in the insurance industry.
Health insurance and the 360-degree focus
Health insurance plans now look at the whole person and the four pillars of health – physical, mental, financial, and social. In the Americas the addition of mental health offerings has almost become standard. Some Insurers now offer employees wellbeing1 leave, which is an extra day off in recognition of the impact the pandemic has had on everyone. Mental health benefits continue to be expanded upon and include services such as 24/7 helplines, counselling sessions2, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and recently the Dialogue’s internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy (iCBT)3.
Supplementary health services now include dental, vision, physiotherapy, CBT, and coaching programs4 to help manage chronic diseases such as diabetes, kidney disease, and chronic pain. Supplementary services offered have been extended with specialized features such as “Ask a Dentist”, iCBT, and Allianz Care@Home. There are also some plans covering long COVID, which services include online or telephone consultations with specialists, physiotherapy led rehabilitation programme, plus emotional support.
Health insurance plans are now more flexible, customizable, and personalized. In one example, customers can mix and match from 38 riders to design a customized plan. The DIY Health Plan offers a choice of seven different benefits to personalize their medical insurance coverage.
The use of Flex Cards offered by health insurers5 allows customers to receive help when they need it. Customers can use these cards to reduce out-of-pocket costs for dental, vision, and hearing needs. A Simply Cash Card can be used to pay for utilities. The Healthy Groceries Card6 will be loaded with up to $75 per month to buy nutritious food as well as health and wellness items.
Health insurance plans are now more flexible, customizable, and personalized.
In 2021, there was a focus on products designed specifically for women. Examples of plans specific to women include Bluum Woman7 in Hong Kong which will offer two products – Cigna HealthFirst Elite Medical Plan and Cigna HealthSecure Lady Care Plan. “Mi Maternidad Protegida” is an insurance created to support mothers during their maternity leave. Bupa, in the UK, now offers a menopause helpline, and it recently launched a Menopause Plan available through Bupa Health Clinics. In Singapore, AXA EmpoweredMum8 is a prenatal plan, which includes coverage for caesarian delivery. The Wildflower Health Model offers a comprehensive, turnkey, maternity bundle that fully operationalizes value-based care for OB providers.
Life insurance move to digital offerings
Many insurers now offer 100% digital applications with no medical tests required. Insurers have introduced innovative new features for their life offerings to include customizable9 life and term plans. Additional offerings include the ability to create a will, funeral services, death benefits, remote notary,10 and counselling services, and partnerships with Bequest’s end-of-life-platform.
Life plans offer coverage up to 100 years of age and flexible premiums terms. Customers can specify the frequency of their payments so that they can receive what amounts to a monthly pay cheque11.
Life insurers continue to partner with Insurtechs such as Waffle and specialized partners such as Happiest Baby a parenting site to help refine their offerings to meet individual needs.
There is a need to move away for the one-size-fits-all life insurance product.
Rewards for leading a healthy life
Insurers have partnered with insurtechs, such as dacadoo12, to inspire customers to lead healthier lifestyles and earn rewards. LiveWell13 is a platform in Europe that allows users to upload physical activity data from wearable devices. The digital platform also gives advice about fitness, nutrition, and preventing ill-health. One of the rewards for engaging in heathy activity is a reduction in life insurance premiums and discounts from various third-party providers.
Betterfly14, in Chile, has teamed up with an insurer to reward its users for doing healthy activities such as walking, climbing a hill, and meditating, among others. Members can synchronize their activities with Fitness Training apps, such as Samsung Health, Google Fit, and Apple Health. Customers can earn Bettercoin through their healthy activities.
Insurers have partnered with insurtechs to inspire customers to lead healthier lifestyles and earn rewards.
Elevate Life15 in South Africa offers rewards for health and wellness data shared. The more you share the more you will be rewarded. Customers can track their wellness progress over time.
The Vitality program continues to flourish around the world. Vitality in New Zealand has formed a partnership with two large supermarkets – Countdown and New Balance. Users can now receive a Countdown gift card every time they reach their weekly Active Rewards target.
Sproutt's Quality of Life Index (QLI) assesses behaviors that reflect healthy living – movement, sleep, emotional health, nutrition, and overall lifestyle balance – to personalize the policy for each customer based on their individual QL score. Customers get rewarded for healthy behaviors.
My Health IQ app16 aims to improve the wellbeing of their customers, encouraging their active involvement in the adoption of a healthier lifestyle.
Apps and the insurer
In 2021, we once again saw the emergence of many apps, when buying life insurance, that support health issues and provide a digital on-boarding experience to the customer.
Some of the interesting apps from 2021 include:
- For physical health, there are apps that give someone a 360-degree health and wellbeing focus.
- Other apps focus on specific diseases, such as diabetes, and help people manage the disease’s medical prescriptions as well as general wellness and fitness.
- There are apps that claim to cater to a person’s complete needs, including Digicare health wellbeing app and Chubb LifeBalance. Capital Blue Cross offers its members an innovative app that can help reverse Type 2 diabetes. Get More Rx mobile app is a discount prescription program that provides individuals and families discounts on generic prescription medication. Bharti AXA Wellness Cuppa is a general fitness app and portal.
For mental health, recent apps include Neuroflow, a self-guided mobile app. It can help users improve their mental health, and it offers self-care and relaxation, mindfulness exercises, and sleep and mood monitoring tools.
Financial health insurers are providing support via a new budgeting tool1, an app that shares financial knowledge2 and solutions, a pocket money app, and an online financial wellbeing tool.3
For social health, insurers have teamed up with insurtechs to offer apps that help anyone who wants to live more sustainably. Customers can receive useful ideas every day from the app on how to become a “climate champion” among their friends and family. Users can collect motivation points to become a Planet Hero19. Other examples are the Pawprint for business app that monitors your purchases20 and the Banix banking app that allows users to monitor the impact of their purchases on the planet.
Insurers now offer a 100% digital customer experience for potential buyers of life insurance. Recent examples include ritchee life21 in France; Getlife22 in Spain; Walnut Insurance23 in Canada; and Bestow, Goosehead in the U.S. High net worth customers are now seeking more flexible and competitive life term products for their specialized needs.
With the pandemic still present around the world in 2022, insurers will continue to innovate and develop insurance products that meet an individual’s specific needs and provide a digital customer journey.
Stay tuned for future releases of our quarterly newsletter to see where the next innovations will take us.