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How data underpins behavioral insurance



In June, I spoke with Manuel's Sushmita Munshi to film our first "Evolving Ecosystems" podcast. Munshi is the head of ManulifeMOVE, a behavioral program that integrates activity tracking and insurance solutions to motivate healthy habits. This series of three blogs looks at the central importance of data, how Manulife has approached the creation of an ecosystem and the technical aspects of delivering complex innovation in a large organization.

Behavioral insurance is a field of development that is designed to motivate customers to make choices that have beneficial effects for them and societies more broadly. This includes pushing people to make healthier lifestyle choices and stimulating healthier habits such as exercise, nutrition and health control.

Manulife made significant progress in this area in Asia and the Pacific in 201

5 when it launched ManulifeMOVE, a program delivered via its own app that provides customers with insights into their health, rewards and support, and integrates activity tracking with their insurance solutions. Customers can also access an ecosystem of services that help them take the next step in achieving better health.

Today, ManulifeMOVE has approximately one million customers in six markets: Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam. Munshi has led this groundbreaking work and developed a new proposal within a large organization, as she says, of management's belief that behavioral insurance would prove to be a significant differentiator as people become more aware of the importance of staying healthy.

Revolution, then evolution

Health ecosystems are usually partners over well-being, fitness and in disease states, with insurers traditionally focusing on the last of these. Only when customers submit pre-approvals do they start providing services for a better experience: during treatment, post-treatment and – in the case of – after surgery.

Behavioral insurance extends the influence of insurers along this continuum to wellness and fitness, and keeps customers healthy so that they are less likely to get sick. The COVID-19 pandemic has raised awareness of these aspects as well as the need for digital solutions, says Munshi, with customers more aware than ever that prevention is better than cure.

"It's a three-way win," Munshi says. “It is a win for our customers who have longer and healthier lives. It is a profit for insurance companies because we have fewer receivables. And it is a benefit for society, because if there is a broad adoption of behavioral insurance, countries can spend less on health care, which reduces the burden on public health systems.

Has the app resulted in lifestyle changes that allow Manulife to change its morbidity and mortality assumptions? Munshi says it is too early to say, although ManulifeMOVE users have changed their behavior and are more engaged.

"We see that people who started with a few thousand steps go more now – they participate in our reward challenges and they" consume our health content ", she says. "This means that improved intentions are followed up with measures throughout the customer base."

Datacentral

Behavioral insurance is based on analysis of data – by individuals, insurance companies and partners in broader health ecosystems. For those who have access to health care services, "It will be about looking at data for a long time, instead of basing it on a snapshot of the temperature taken at the doctor's office," says Munshi.

This puts insurers' onus to provide more customized products and access to a broader package of services. "Instead of having very broad products with assumptions about a very broad cohort, people will expect products that are more focused on their needs or for people like them," says Munshi.

And at the heart of the ability to create products, offerings and efficient ecosystems is customer data. In any field, it raises a number of questions; when it comes to health care, it is increasing more. And when it comes to sharing health information with ecosystem partners, these problems are particularly acute.

Customer data is one of Manulife's most important assets, "and managing it, storing it and – if we decide to share it, with the utmost care – is perhaps the most important priority for us, says Munshi. To this end, if Manulife needs to collect data, it explains why it is needed, how it will be stored and, where applicable, why it shares it.

In addition, Manulife deals differently with different partners depending on the depth of each relationship. For transactional relationships, for example, it does not share information. If a customer instead receives a reward, for example, they receive a unique code that they can use at the partner's point of sale.

Other partnerships are more in-depth, but data anonymity is still the key. Take Manulife's partnership with Swiss digital health platform provider dacadoo, whose Health Score lets app users measure how healthy they are and tell them what they need to do to stay healthy. Collaborators like this only get the data they need, and in any case, data is anonymized and collected at the cohort level, which means that it can not be traced back to a person.

The wellness platform that ManulifeMOVE provides access to is a compelling example of a growing ecosystem. In our second blog we will look at how Manulife built it.

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