As more is expected from group and individual protection, the market will do more to meet those demands. Christine Husbands, managing director of RedArc gives her predictions for 2017.
Greater utilisation of added-value services in insurance policies
Many insurers recognise that financial support is just one part of the solution when it comes to protection and managing claims, many are offering wider, added-value support services, such as access to telemedical services, support for serious illnesses, navigating the health services and arranging specialist therapies. We expect this to be a growth area in 2017 as clients increasingly expect more from their insurance policies. Eventually it will become the norm to offer wider support services, and as more insurers do, others will need to keep up with the competition.
Tailored EAPs to give more support, including for mental health
We are seeing an increasing number of employers realise the value of a good quality EAP with more fully rounded support which includes access to mental health support and a holistic approach to helping employees outside work, such as during recovery when they come out of hospital. We expect to see more employers look to tailor their EAPs, ensure they’re relevant to their workforce and offer a fuller service that is more highly utilised and valued. Many employers have EAPs and it’s important that this isn’t just a box-ticking exercise, when in practice they can be tailored to specific businesses to add real value.
Increased utilisation of group risk protection policies
With Welfare Reform, reports from Cii’s Building Resilient Households and announcements in the Autumn Statement we will see employers take on more responsibility to support their employees both in and outside the workplace. Employers will recognise that the provision of Group Risk policies are the right thing to do for their staff, helping and supporting them for the main causes of absence, including stress, serious illness, returns to work as well as staff engagement and productivity.
More value demanded from Private Medical Insurance
As costs increase for PMIs, insurers will be called upon to show value, and employers will demand more. PMIs will no longer have a primary focus on fast-track access to private healthcare, but will increase their focus on adding more value. This will include supporting people with preparing for consultant appointments, navigating between the services offered from private healthcare and the NHS, support for people leaving hospital, arranging face-to-face second medical opinions. Value will be enhanced and the increasingly savvy customer, be that employer or individual, will expect – and get – more.
Emphasis on building the business case for benefits
With the increase in added-value services within policies from PMIs, EAPs, Group Risk and individual protection, we will see more focus on analysis of the value. Insurers and employers alike want to know what services are of most value to their policy holders. Companies that offer such services need to demonstrate the business case. We make thousands of calls to patients every year and being able to report on the value we add to the individual is crucial.
Christine Husbands, managing director of RedArc says: ‘The pressure is on for insurers to differentiate their products, for advisers to add value, employers to see return on investment from their benefits and individuals to get added-value support. The services we offer develop constantly to meet the changing demands of the market; the support is there for those with serious illnesses, mental health needs and navigating healthcare services. People need and expect more than just financial support from their insurance policies and we anticipate this demand to grow.’