Luk Vanderstede
Director General Mexico
Bupa Global Latin America
View from the Top

Insurance as Investment Not Expense

Tue, 05/07/2019 - 16:05

Q: Besides Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA), what other alliances have helped secure your foothold in the Mexican insurance segment?
A: Bupa formed a partnership with BCBSA resulting in a joint venture named Highway to Health. The project allows BCBSA’s clients to access medical insurance coverage across the world, while Bupa Global clients get medical coverage in the US. This is good news for our Mexican clients since most of international accidents involving Mexicans happen in the US.
Our local team for health and benefits has developed many other productive alliances, particularly with hospitals. We are working hard to differentiate and increase our offering. We have solid partnerships with Grupo Ángeles and ABC but we want our clients to have more options because more options lead to more variety inside and outside the country. An example is our alliance with American Express. The profile of many American Express clients, their lifestyle and needs fit well with our offering. Another alliance is with Actinver, which for the past three years has been an important intermediate channel to grow our client base.
Q: How is Bupa using technology to improve its services?
A: In Mexico, we need to work on digitalization but we have to analyze the regulation that allows us to do that. There are many things that could be done, but when trying to apply them to specific situations and following local regulations, they cannot be implemented smoothly. An example is the figure of the intermediator. Around 10 years ago, people used to say that insurance agents were bound to disappear. However, I believe intermediators will always exist because at the moment of acquiring an insurance policy, people need assessment regarding the investment they are making. Also, the Latin American culture likes the human element, which makes an intermediary necessary. Moreover, technology has yet to develop the proper capabilities to evaluate the conditions under which an insurance policy should be drafted.
Q: How is Bupa Global improving customer engagement and client retention?
A: If clients are happy, feel safe and know that their investment is guaranteed, then retention is easy. For any insurance company, the idea is to have a controlled accident rate. Clients who use their policy have firsthand experience of our customer service, which also makes retention easier. The challenge is with those clients who have not suffered any eventuality. We need to be in constant communication with these clients to retain them, conveying the message that we help them achieve longer, happier and healthier lives.
Through Círculo de Bienestar Bupa (CBB), we help our clients and distributors to have a healthy lifestyle and we also participate in health-related events across the region, such as the recent PGA Tour Latinoamérica golf tournament Bupa Match Play in Cancun and our Uber campaign in Mexico “Bienestar en el Camino.”
We also work to update our policies, focusing on topics such as mental health. For instance, Bupa Global UK is including certain conditions related to burnout in some of its policies and the idea is to gradually bring this to Mexico. Today, our coverage includes certain therapies for Alzheimer and Down Syndrome but we want our clients to know that our policies are enriched by topics that touch upon productivity, such as mental health.
Products offered by Bupa Global are investments, rather than expenses. However, in Mexico insurance is still seen as an expense. It is important to see our products as investments in the sense that clients can have access to a network of more than 1.2 million healthcare providers, even in the US.
Q: What are Bupa Global’s main goals for Mexico in 2019?
A: We are striving for healthy growth. We do not target the mass market, which is why our long-term goal is to be the most admired company in the premium medical expenses segment in the next few years.