Note: This is the sixth in a series of blogs about insurance conversion by Majesco and PwC. Today’s blog is a continuation of 30/3/2022 contained absence management podcastst between Denise Garth, Chief Strategy Officer at Majesco, and Rima Safari and Mark Rosenthal from PwC’s Insurance Transformation internship.
Denise Garth: The podcast was so informative that we want to develop some topics. The first is, how can a carrier better position itself in the absence management area?
Mark: Absence management is a complex area with a changing regulatory environment and major changes in company leave. Now more than ever, most employees define what benefits they want from employers. The pandemic has to some extent accelerated changes and the needs of employees / employers in this space. The pandemic has mainly affected this area in two main ways: First, by adding additional complexity to the absenteeism management ecosystem; and secondly, by further defining the needs for benefits to employees / employers. Together with these main points, we have all heard about the “big layoff”;, as the needs of employees develop, which in turn shapes the needs of employers. Now, more than ever, an employee is more likely to leave their current employer if their needs are not met. For example, the latest PwC Pulse Survey showed that 65% of employees are looking for a new job[i]. As a result, the needs are more complex and plan sponsors and distribution partners are looking for solutions. In order for a carrier to be able to better position itself in this space, they should fully embrace absence management and look at absence management from a holistic point of view. The greater the ability of a carrier to distill customers’ needs and create solutions that are both packaged and flexible in the absence management space, the greater their potential for success than a carrier that is partially committed.
Denise Garth: When you say “holistic”, can you give more details? Is it to lead with absence management and utilize other existing products or create new products to solve several needs? Is this what can give a carrier a competitive advantage?
Mark: Yes, this is how a carrier who wants to expand its role in this space should think about the future of its programs. Lead with absenteeism management, but solve it holistically, by meeting multiple needs; whether it is about looking at existing products or investing in research and development of new products and deciding how to enter the market with one or more holistic packages. An example of this would be if an employee had an accident and needs to take a holiday, needs therapy and needs special employment services while he recovers.
Rima: The possibility of a solution that covers all aspects of an accident in a simple, frictionless way results in lower stress for the end customer and a fantastic solution in this space. Due to the complexity of absenteeism management, most distribution partners seek out carriers to solve the problems in this area. Distribution partners often do not have the time or resources to grow / maintain their books, service their accounts, advise their customers and navigate the myriad of carriers, rules and needs to provide a complete solution. If a carrier can come to its distribution channels with a solution that is comprehensive enough to meet the needs of consumers, but flexible enough to adapt to the changing environment, then it can be a win-win for everyone. However, all this is easier said than done. A carrier that wants to expand its role in this space should be committed.
Denise Garth: You mentioned the word “commit” or “fully engaged” a few times, can you expand what it means to commit in the absence market?
Rima: Absence management is not for the faint of heart. When carriers look at their overall current and potential product offerings, they should have adaptations across the company to invest the time and money needed to get their absenteeism solutions to address market needs. This will involve the transformation of processes and systems to help consumers get seamless interfaces and customer service, along with the ability to choose customized products for their staff. Trying to solve this problem will not happen overnight and will require several interactions. Like our previous blog on the Distribution Management Maturity Curve, the solution to this will be done in stages. There may be times when an operator may end up on a plateau, but by understanding that solving this is more of a journey that requires a detailed plan of financial support, business support and proper system support, over a long period of time, this can position an operator on a positive way rather than a “partially engaged” carrier unsure of how to play in space.
Denise Garth: I hope we have answered your questions about how to start thinking about absence management and aspects that could potentially separate a carrier. Do you have questions about absence management or do you want to know more? Just drop it in the comments section below.