Tag Archives: A1C

How to Reach Millions With Life Insurance

The availability of rapid diagnostic technology and the dramatic growth of retail healthcare has converged to create opportunities for the life insurance industry to attract and serve millions of consumers who are uninsured. Increasingly, consumers are visiting retail locations for healthcare. Life insurers stand to benefit in both the short and long term by taking advantage of the convenience of retail healthcare and the availability of rapid testing to speed underwriting.

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Rapid Tests Meet Consumer and Insurer Needs

In the past five years, minimally invasive rapid diagnostic testing has been revolutionized. Its accuracy, speed and ease-of-use have made it a perfect fit for the retail health environment. Rapid tests require only a small drop of blood or an oral swab, deliver accurate results in minutes and meet stringent FDA guidelines. Tests, such as A1c for diabetes or cotinine for smoking detection, can be combined into one kit for ease of use and distribution. And, because results can be seen immediately, rapid tests meet consumer expectations of speed by eliminating the delays inherent in the central lab process.

Faced with declining sales, forward-thinking insurers and reinsurers are using these new tools and processes to enable rapid issue of insurance. And, when combined with more traditional measurements such as height, weight and blood pressure, rapid tests provide insurers with the information they need to make accurate and quick decisions on a life insurance application. The data can be electronically transferred from the retail site to the insurer to enable immediate, rule-based decisions. As a result, an insurance offer can quickly be delivered to the consumer—often by the time he or she arrives home—delighting consumers and shrinking the life insurance underwriting process considerably.

Growth of Retail Healthcare Creates Reach into Neighborhoods

Retail pharmacies and urgent care clinics are quickly becoming neighborhood clinics. They are able to provide a broad range of services, with the majority offering health screenings and wellness services to fulfill the growing consumer demand for affordable, accessible healthcare in a convenient and professional setting.

This trend is one that we can expect to grow and broaden. According to Accenture’s recent analysis, “Walk-in retail clinics, located in pharmacies, retail chains and supermarkets, will add capacity for 25 million patient visits in 2017, up from 16 million in 2014.” The Urgent Care Association of America reports similar growth. There are now 7,000 urgent care clinics in the U.S. that see three million patients each week.

A New Process for a New Generation

The availability of rapid diagnostic testing in retail settings offers a unique opportunity for life insurers to address several challenges in the application process that are cumbersome to today’s consumers. Many of these consumers simply disappear because the insurance process takes too long. Rapid testing speeds the delivery of results to the insurer so it can quickly make an offer to the consumers. Consumers are able to complete testing in a convenient and professional setting.

In an age where speed of information is not only expected but demanded from consumers, this new paradigm provides insurers and reinsurers with a process that consumers will applaud with their loyalty and their life insurance dollars.

Connected Humans, Version 3.0

Whether you commute to work on public transport to work or fly between busy airports to serve your clients, wherever you go you will see people glued to their phones, tablets or e-readers. More than likely, all these devices are connected to the Internet in real time over a mobile network or capable of connecting via Wi-Fi.

There is so much written on the connected car and the connected (“smart”) home, but we also need to open a discussion about connected humans.

Let me clarify: I have no interest in talking about social networking. I’m more interested in connections from the perspective of tracking health and biometric data to be used by the healthcare and insurance industries for pricing.

A decade ago, we were limited by the technology and the computing power of hand-held devices. Wearables and ingestible devices were nowhere in the ecosystem. It made perfect sense to use historical data to price and sell products based on stale census information.

Technology drivers

Fast forward to the current time. Computing power has scaled exponentially over the last decade. We have devices that can track, store and filter essential lifestyle and health data, and we have predictive analytic capabilities that would make historic rating methods look like the Stone Age.

Market demographics

The growth rate of Millennials earning paychecks is not keeping pace with the growth in the aging population living off savings. If that was not bad enough , buying behaviors of Millennials indicate that insurance is not one of their top priorities. There are numerous surveys you can find online that point to this problem.

We have heard of “gamification” and customer engagement in the context of banking and financial services, to attract Millennials, but insurance and healthcare companies have barely touched the tip of the iceberg on this. The amount of biometric data that can be harvested and used for predictive analytics could include a host of items, including blood pressure, heart rate, vitamin count, sleep patterns, activity metrics and blood sugar, just to name a few. All this information, harvested and analyzed to price and sell a host of new products to new market segments with lifestyle diseases like diabetes or obesity, opens the route to gamification of healthcare apps and much better life insurance pricing. Providers today stop at just providing discounts on the fringes as I see it, not truly revisiting pricing.

With technology evolving at the pace it is and with our ability to get more out of the data through predictive analysis, the healthcare and insurance segment could look very different 10 years from now.

There is a school of thought that says privacy issues will limit the use of biometric data, but, if there is a business model that works for weight watchers and diabetic forums, there is a business case and a market segment to change the way insurance and healthcare products are priced and sold.

Hertz has begun to pitch itself as a used-car sales channel, allowing the consumer to test drive a car for an extended renting period and then buy or not buy the car. In the insurance or healthcare context, if pricing were driven by behavioral patterns and biometric statistics, you could offer an extended free look or evaluation period allowing a skeptical diabetic or obese customer to try devices, see the effects on their health and the corresponding premium discounts and then make a decision on locking into the product.

Insurance and healthcare have not truly embraced the technology and buying behavioral shift of customers. What remains to be seen is who leads the charge. Will it be insurance and healthcare companies? Will it be technology giants like Google, which are already tracking a lot of what people do? Or will it be a company like Tesla and Uber, which have disrupted traditional industry segments where they were never the incumbent.