Health Financial Support Through Better User ExperiencesBy Miriam Bello | Tue, 04/20/2021 - 14:39
Q: How do you think COVID-19 will reshape the insurance sector?
A: COVID-19 will be a watershed for the entire world. Looking back at history, there have been significant events that sparked revolutionary change. In the insurance sector, I see significant changes in the way we work because technology has been introduced to increase companies’ productivity. At Plan Seguro, almost 90 percent of our collaborators are working from home as a result of our successful adoption of technology.
Q: How will the pandemic impact insurance penetration in the market?
A: There is still a great deal that needs to be done to see a real increase in the number of insured people in the country. This is because we do not have a culture of prevention regarding financing and healthcare. Coupled with this is the creation of responsive coverage products. I do not think COVID-19 will increase substantially the number of insured people but I do think it raised awareness among Mexican families of the need for financial support. Still, I doubt everyone is aware that insurance companies have paid up to MX$20 million (US$1 million) for a single COVID-19 case.
Q: How is Plan Seguro working to redesign its products to offer more responsive coverage?
A: We are focusing on creating products that foment a preventive health culture and a continuous healthy state for the user. With this, we expect to incentivize regular doctor checkups to ensure early detection before something becomes a serious condition. We want to change the actual paradigm of health from a restorative model to a constant state of good health.
Q: What has been Plan Seguro’s financial strategy in the face of COVID-19?
A: Economic solvency is key. The pandemic left us with a 20 percent increase in our accident rate, which is around 2.5 additional months of accidents per year. We have paid out around MX$205 million (US$10 million) related to 500 COVID-19 cases. Nevertheless, by the end of 2020, Plan Seguro closed with its highest solvency level in its history, even after paying out on every policy we had to.
The market has paid over MX$14.2 billion (US$700 million) for around 31,000 COVID-19 cases, with the worst case being a MX$29 million (US$1.4 million) payout. While the expenditure for sector as a whole does not put us at alarming levels, the hit has been significant. This sector is financially armored and individually, we have a very safe financial regulation for these types of unexpected events.
Q: How are insurtech companies and tech giants coexisting withing the traditional insurance environment?
A: Insurtech companies are necessary and so is their participation in the sector. Insurance companies are partnering with these players to create an online environment that benefits both parties, as it would be very costly for insurance companies to create an insurtech platform from scratch. For their part, insurtechs would need to begin building a reputation in the insurance sector. Insurtech is a growing trend in the sector. These companies also serve as intermediaries for insurance sales and logistics through technology.
Tech giants have expressed their desire to enter into this sector and I see this as an interesting dynamic that will force the market to act smartly and be more innovative. Tech companies have the capacity to foment greater financial awareness among people. I think that the insurance sector, rather than seeing both of these players as a threat, should see them as an opportunity to further develop this market, which I think has room for everyone.
Q: How can insurance improve for patients with chronic diseases?
A: Companies should focus on supporting these patients in a way that allows them to have a better lifestyle, beyond just paying for their treatments. This means creating products that work as bridges for the user to have a healthier lifestyle and a better quality of life. These patients obviously need their health recovery treatments but these have to be complemented with other elements like psychological support and nutritional attention. Such integral avenues of attention would have a true impact on the user.
That is why Plan Seguro has health plans for people with some chronic diseases like diabetes or hypertension.
Q: What benefits can digitalized hospitals provide?
A: Hospital interconnection has been growing in importance. Regarding insurance, billing is the No. 1 improvement. Digitalization allows us to have a clear and transparent look into our user’s hospital stay and in fact, this is a very common dynamic between our partners.
Technology can simplify an insured patient’s stay in a hospital. There is still a gap, however, in terms of building an interconnected system. Plan Seguro’s app that displays a user’s policy is one way we are offering a better service.
Q: What are Plan Seguro’s priorities for 2021?
A: We want to continue improving the user’s experience with our services, by creating better products that offer support for their financial health. Caring for our employees’ health is another priority. We have kept them free of contagion so far and it is my priority to serve as an ally regarding their health by letting them work from home.
Plan Seguro is an insurance company specialized in health plans. It has 23 years of experience and a network of more than 4,500 doctors, more than 500 health providers and 20 commercial offices.