Consumers needs have shifted significantly over the past few years, with an increasing demand for digital communication and affordability.
When it comes to insurance solutions, Canadians are looking for simplified, easily accessible products that do not burn a hole in their wallets, especially during this period of economic inflation.
Jane Wang (pictured), CEO of wellness app company Optimity, explained that the pandemic has put health issues at the forefront of consumers’ minds, and, now more than ever, Canadians need support for both physical, mental, and financial health.
“Insurance is a foundational part of protecting against catastrophes, and the industry needs to make sure everyone has the support they need,” she said.
In the past, the industry took a broad, more generalized approach to consumers’ health products, but now the focus has been geared towards creating affordable solutions that can be tailored to individual needs.
“The shift towards reaching out to customers on mobile devices has also been apparent,” said Wang.
Mental and physical health is very personal, and policyholders are beginning to see the true value of accessing insurance services on their phone or laptop when they need it most. Communicating with insurers via digital solutions is becoming a new normal for building trusting relationships.
“With telehealth and telemedicine, policyholders instantaneously are able to get the support they need without travelling or waiting for an appointment,” she explained. “It has really saved time and reduced redundancies that were apparent in the past.”
After accessibility is established, greater affordability will help relieve the growing financial burden from Canadians’ shoulders.
“The first aspect to affordability is delivering service. There are costs associated with going to a doctor, but with telemedicine, the cost structure changes and savings can actually be passed on to the end consumer,” said Wang.
The second aspect relates to data. Wang mentioned that with more digital health solutions, the industry is able to pull more records on cases or claims, to facilitate a more streamlined and accurate process.
“We’re seeing this a bit more in the US than Canada, but we’re also making a lot of progress,” she continued. “We just need some work to increase scale and the number of vendors in that middle layer.”
There are partnerships such as Optimity and digital insurance provider Walnut, that are promoting more accessibility and efficiency for customers. “There is so much collaboration that is happening within Canadian insurtech and health technology,” Wang said.
“At the intersection of insurance and health, transparency is the thing that brings everyone together.”
There’s a large protection gap when it comes to health insurance, which can be attributed to misconceptions that products are expensive and hard to understand.
“Most solutions were aimed at high-net-worth individuals, and they likely have good insurance coverage because they have financial security,” said Wang. “For the middle-class, solutions are oftentimes quite complicated to understand.”
One size doesn’t fit all, especially for health insurance needs, which is why players in the industry such as Optimity and Walnut are working to simplify processes, bringing physical, mental, and financial wellness under one roof.
“Technology allows the industry to democratize the entire process,” Wang noted. “Customers need support now more than ever.”