The world of Insurtech is gaining momentum as insurance start-ups are testing cutting-edge digital solutions to improve the client experience, back-end operations, and everything in between. Every year, it draws more investment, with last year's total being at an all high of $4.4 billion. The insurtech industry is increasingly becoming more geographically diverse as well, with several insurtechs in Europe and Asia recently gaining significant funding.
Insurtechs are garnering a high level of interest and investment as they are striving to be at the forefront of the industry, generating potentially game-changing products, services, and operational innovations. The industry has been receptive and aware of the potential insurtech holds, according to the most recent Accenture Tech Vision for Insurance, 90 per cent of insurance leaders feel that the integration of real-time delivery with customisation, which is the foundation of many insurtechs, is the next big wave in terms of competitive advantage
In an interview with Neeraj Gupta, CEO, Policybazaar.ae we uncover how insurtech is evolving the healthcare insurance industry within healthcare.
Digital transformation has witnessed a gradual adoption by the healthcare industry. How crucial is it for the insurance sector to also implement technology, especially for healthcare insurance providers?
To fit into the digital future, the insurance industry must focus towards ‘insurtech’ or the integration of innovative technologies like increasing acceptance of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), Cloud computing, etc. to streamline and improve efficiency in the healthcare insurance space. For example, Cloud computing in health insurance offers flexibility, better management, cost optimisation, and anytime-anywhere access of data for health insurers.
With the right digital ecosystem, insurers can not only educate customers for a healthier lifestyle but can also acquire real-time customer data using non-intrusive methods, tools such as websites, apps, emails, social media, live chat, text to reach out to the customers. Also, with developments in technology, there are increasing possibilities of new methods of service provision as well as greater opportunities for data collection that can lead to better risk identification and mitigation measures.
Image supplied, Neeraj Gupta, CEO, Policybazaar.ae
How is Insurtech redefining healthcare insurance for users in the UAE? Has there been significant AI integrations that have guided reforms?
COVID-19 ushered in the advancement of Insurtech, from being a good-to-have accessory to a must-have facilitator. It was observed that aggregators and insurers with an online capability in the UAE region gained high traction and were able to write substantial volumes of business. A significant impact of buying healthcare insurance online proved to be convenient, economical, and efficient. Furthermore, insurance companies could benefit from reduced overheads and operating expenses, while prospective policyholders were able to compare across a menu of options and make an informed and conscious choice. Even the online payment opportunities for both the premiums and claims speed up the processes and potentially reduce the opportunities for fraud.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) too played an integral role in increasing the operational efficiency of health insurance companies. From interacting with customers to understanding their needs AI recommended the most appropriate health policy. AI proved to be extremely productive for efficient customer experience by understanding the context of customer visit. Also, all the document processing technologies e.g., OCR too helped in better customer experience.
What is the role of cost when it comes to insurtech, how can it help in patients accessing more affordable and quality healthcare?
Insurance companies are focusing more on digital health services to cap the increasing health costs. Services like telehealth, remote health monitoring, and electronic health record (EHR) are helping to ease the financial pressure. Service provider’s teleconsultations are helping as they come at a fixed cost while giving policyholders easy access. Also, earlier the health insurance companies relied on impersonalised datasets to assess the risk for various diseases. But today, endpoint devices and social media can provide large amounts of personalised data. This approach helps both the insurers and customers – customers can get better coverage at affordable prices and highly personalised services, while business too gets more accurate risk assessment, stable margins, and satisfied clients.
How is preventative maintenance supported by healthcare systems and be further improved through insurance providers?
Regularly scheduled preventive maintenance helps ensure that medical equipment are working at optimum performance. The benefits of a preventive maintenance include timely repair and service of physical assets which need to be detected and corrected before becoming major issues. What is always vital is an appropriate and properly functioning equipment used and applied correctly by competent personnel, with minimal risk to their patients and to themselves. Thus, technical guidance, and practical tools are needed for effective and efficient management of healthcare technology for it to impact on priority health problems and the health system's capacity to adequately respond to health needs and expectations. Insurance companies are collecting data from telematics, agent interactions, customer interactions, and even social media to better understand and manage this preventative maintenance by healthcare systems.
Has patient engagement technology been integrated in care plans for patients? How important is this?
The innovations in technology, such as wearable devices, mobile apps, smartphones, and iPads, are helping to improve engagement between healthcare professionals and patients. The major advantage to clinical care in the age of data-capture devices is an ability to share real-time results, be it heart rate, blood pressure, blood sugar, activity level, or sleep. Even more valuable, the introduction of chatbots has introduced a new form of motivational communication that delivers one-on-one responsiveness to the patients. Additionally, by the telemedicine platform, clinicians gain the ability to connect to platforms that integrate with EHR systems to support immediate access to the patient's health history to assist in remote patient care. This way, the potential for telemedicine to improve healthcare access and enhance patient participation is just beginning to reach its full potential. Thus, digital will continue to be focus, it’s not disruption anymore