Covid-19 Idea Pulse Alerts: Week 1
This new series of Covid-19 Idea Pulse Alerts is a fortnightly update on insurance innovations that take place as a response to the current pandemic crisis. In every blog, we will share with you examples of innovations and trends we are observing.
|Key Takeaways this fortnight|
Since its reported onset in December 2019, the COVID-19 pandemic has escalated to truly global proportions in the second quarter of 2020. Losses to life and economies continued to grow in an exponential trajectory through April. Despite the extraordinary containment measures taken, there is increasing uncertainty about any swift end to the crisis in the near-term.
For the insurance industry, which is no stranger to catastrophes, COVID-19 presents increasing challenges. To their credit, the industry has responded with speed and agility.
Agile product innovations, new models of customer engagement and digital strategies have been in the spotlight and are here to stay, even as trends indicate that it may well be the end of the year before the pandemic runs its course.
Innovations In Health Products and Services
The health insurance industry worldwide is responding to the COVID-19 health emergency in the form of COVID cover products and digital tools to support anxious policyholders and those needing care for other health conditions.
Telemedicine, a service offered by many insurers for virtual consultations has seen explosive growth in use across the world. Largely used by the digitally savvy, and mostly geared towards wellness and prevention, digital health services are now being actively used by all age groups including senior citizens.
BUPA’s digital GP service is now available to all UK customers. BUPA has also gone a step further and introduced new services for phone and video consultations including mental health, and chemotherapy at home for cancer patients.
CVS Health in the U.S. saw a 600% increase in the use of telehealth and virtual visits through its MinuteClinic walk-in locations, compared to the first quarter of 2019.
China insurance giant Ping An’s mobile healthcare platform Good Doctor saw a 900% spike in users in a single month between December 2019 and January 2020 as the severity of COVID-19 grew in the region.
Digital Channels and Processes
Although the insurance industry was not lagging in digital transformation, the current scenario has highlighted the imperative to not only speed up efforts but also re-imagine new ways of doing business.
Digital laggards have been impacted in the lockdown era. In India for example, online health insurance sales soared in March, performing 30% better than the previous year. However, traditional insurers who relied largely on offline distribution channels suffered in comparison, even seeing a drop in new business.
BriteBee, a digital broker marketing platform in the US sees the shift towards digital distribution in the future. To accelerate this process and also aid agents in the lockdown, BriteBee has offered a free three month paid subscription or “Stimulus Package” to every insurance agency in the US to help them connect with clients.
AXA XL has taken digital innovation further by reshaping its risk assessment. AXA XL introduced a remote model for risk assessment branded Remote Risk Dialogue that enables risk engineers to perform remote analysis and share data with risk managers, brokers and underwriters.
In a matter of weeks, the insurance industry has demonstrated a swift response to the COVID-19 health emergency and the disruption to life and business. Putting stakeholders such as customers and employees first, insurers have been largely proactive in the measures taken. These include premium refunds and rebates, health covers for COVID-19 and ensuring employee safety by implementing work from home models.
As digital models and process go into place, other challenges such as cybersecurity threats are coming up. The new wave of developments is seeing an increased focus on cyber liability protection and other measures to deal with cyber risks, data privacy and security in the backdrop of simmering geopolitical and economic tensions.
Insurtech activity is also picking up to help prepare for a digital future. Drone and telematics technology providers are among those who are rolling put solutions that aid remote risk and claims assessments in the COVID-19 environment. The month of May is likely to see more activity in these areas.
We’ll be keeping our finger on the pulse of insurers’ responses to COVID-19, and reporting back every fortnight. A more complete dataset is being added to our Insurance Idea Pulse dataset of 1,000+ recent insurance innovations. For detail about how to access this, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.