Christine Husbands, managing director of RedArc Nurses says: “The pressure is on for insurers to differentiate their products, for advisers to add value and for employers to see a return on investment. Added-value benefits have been delivering on this for years but 2019 will be the year when added value is no longer simply a ‘nice to have’ but a core expectation of products and services – less of the ‘added’ and more of the ‘value’. We’ll see more value in terms of early intervention, technology and support for wellness. ”
These are the three key areas that RedArc predicts insurers will need to focus on in 2019:
1. The year of the value add
Insurers increasingly recognise the value that additional services bring to the customer. At one time, value-added services were viewed as a nice-to-have, but now they are viewed as an essential part of the benefits they provide – giving complete protection, not just financial, and in so doing engendering trust and loyalty too.
As such, the services that can be offered have seen a lot of development, they’re sophisticated and holistic. The range of value-added benefits now includes access to GP services, second medical opinions, oncology specialists, nurse-advice services, clinical assessments and access to specialist mental health support.
Services not only provide support for people when they face ill health or bereavement, but also to help them stay healthy. Benefits are now also available that reward good health behaviours such as offering retail benefits and discounts.
As added-value services become more sophisticated, they need to be embraced by insurers and become an integral part of their service.
2. Technology with a human touch
Technology brings a new aspect to value-added services, and we’ll see more of this throughout the coming months. The driver is to increase interactivity and engagement. We’ll see more development in apps and online resources that can help support a range of issues from mental health to physical health, as well preventing ill-health by helping people live healthier lives. This will help insurers engage with customers more directly in a way that hasn’t been possible before.
Many tools are available that can monitor physical or mental wellbeing, but unless good solutions are offered following an assessment then these are useless and may even be viewed as dangerous.
When people are unwell, unsure or vulnerable, they need personal support, reassurance and guidance. So it’s imperative that any technological intervention is supplemented with human intervention, be this online, by phone or face-to-face.
Support is most powerful when it’s truly tailored and personalised. Insurers mustn’t look at technology in isolation, but how it’s backed up with the human touch in the shape of personal support.
3. Prevention & wellbeing
There’s an increasing focus on wellbeing, and an understanding of the benefits of early intervention. Of course we all understand the benefits of physical health screening – an early diagnosis leads to quicker treatment and better outcomes. And we’ve seen from our own data how early intervention can stop mental health issues escalating.
Insurers need to fully engage with the early-intervention aspect and the opportunity to improve wellness, rather than viewing them purely as an add-on. When this aspect is embedded in the proposition, they’ll see the most benefit.
Christine Husbands concludes: “On a daily basis our nurses see first-hand the difference they make to peoples’ lives, and this reflects well on the insurer. All are looking to differentiate their service in a crowded and competitive marketplace, but the benefits go way beyond this, we help them engage directly with their customers and provide a valued service, and that makes a difference to their business as well as their customers’ lives.”