Juan Ignacio Gil Antón
Corporate Insurance Director
GNP Seguros
View from the Top

Insurance Policies to Improve Access to Private Healthcare

Sat, 09/05/2015 - 20:16

Q: What factors have driven GNP Seguros’ growth within the health and life insurance segment in particular?

A: As the market leader in the corporate and individual insurance sectors, we have an excellent network of stakeholders and branches. We also have the biggest distribution chain of any insurer in Mexico. This is a competitive market, but we have a secure position. Our network has strengthened over time, through the relationships developed with hospitals, doctors, clinics, and other stakeholders in the health sector. In fact, it is difficult to find a healthcare provider who is not associated with us in some kind of business relationship. Our market share accounts for one third of all people who are insured in Mexico, amounting to approximately 1.1 million corporate clients.

Q: How has the market for private health insurance in Mexico been evolving?

A: The incidence of serious illness is growing. Cancer and diabetes are taking up a large and growing outlay, both from individuals and from the public health budget. As our lifestyles change, more of us suffer from diabetes, hypertension, and stress. While the number of people suffering from such illnesses is growing, the proportion of policy holders remains quite low. While life quality, in general, is better than in the past, changing habits mean that health depends more on prevention than on surgical procedures. This will mean that people get sick less often, and less severely, and it is possible to reduce the number of people suffering chronic illness with prevention programs. Companies and families can spend less on medical treatment if we have a healthier population. Knowledge is power here. By surveying risk factors, such as age and weight, we can predict what illnesses the population is likely to suffer. Based on this data, we can help people embark on a health management program. We foster improvement in life habits, with a view to boosting health and life quality. In investing in the lives of our clients, we are doing something good for them.

Q: How would you describe GNP Seguros’ current interactions with the public and the private sector?

A: Since a number of cancers are related to lifestyles, the cost of these illnesses can be reduced with lifestyle changes. Employees who get sick less often are happier and more productive, meaning that they perform better. However, selling lifestyle changes is difficult as people do not realize that this is a valuable investment. Consumers may be willing to buy gym memberships, but convincing them to follow a health regimen is difficult. We want businesses to have larger and healthier workforces; we are not here just to sell a policy. We are beginning to offer businesses methods to reduce insurance expenses in order to improve and make medical attention more cost-effective. Since 90% of clients referred to a hospital are covered by some insurance company, our intention is to lower the cost for hospitals. The affordability of private hospitals depends on insurance companies. If we become more expensive, then so do they. Our goal is for private healthcare to become more affordable for more Mexicans. As such, our work is aimed at reducing the cost of healthcare for our clients. To work with the public sector, we must take advantage of our strengths. We generally have better patient records management than the public sector. IMSS can launch huge packages, such as an insurance program for diabetes serving around 16,000 people, but it is not in the nature of a business to do this. What we can offer is a more streamlined documentation process to speed up the provision of treatment and the issuing of policies, and tighten financial plans.

Q: What are GNP Seguros’ plans to improve its client’s life quality?

A: We want to be seen as more than an insurance company by directly taking part in the health of Mexicans. Our interest in becoming a better company does not stop at an increase in revenue; we want to change the concept of health towards changes of habits and illness prevention. Consequently, our focus is improving the health of our clients. Since Mexican women have a high incidence of breast cancer – a preventable, treatable illness – we have offered check-ups and mammograms to all women who have an insurance policy with us since 2013. We are also covering psychological costs related to the disease, both to the patient and to the family. This would reduce the pressure for IMSS and other public insurers. From a study on 2,000 people who made small changes in their basic health and fitness programs we observed an average 30% reduction in illnesses of all kinds across the group.