By Robert Nunez, Head of Industry Fund Segment, CommInsure
The role of life insurers is fundamentally changing. Whilst the reason for our existence will always be to pay claims we know that it doesn’t start and end there. We have a responsibility to all our customers and members, those who need to make a claim and those who may never have to.
The opportunity to move this rhetoric into tangible action and outcomes is in health and wellbeing; the pursuit of Australians to be healthy and happy, both physically and mentally.
Across the life insurance industry, there have been significant steps taken in understanding the role we have in educating and improving the general health and wellbeing of our members.
However, I think it’s in Group Insurance where this movement can gain real pace and have a profound impact on members. There is an opportunity to provide an exceptional member experience by harnessing the collective power of superannuation funds and insurance providers and driving member value from the sum of our parts.
Just like the collective power of an orchestra delivers a superior listening experience compared to each musician playing their part on their own, the collaboration of superannuation funds and insurers in promoting and improving health and wellbeing will deliver a superior member experience and outcomes than if each of us were to just go it alone.
At CommInsure we think it’s critical to partner with our superannuation funds and support their efforts in engaging their members.
The superannuation funds we partner with play an important role in building the financial literacy of their members and highlighting the important role of superannuation in retirement planning, which are critical components of financial health.
We, as insurance providers, can support superannuation fund’s member engagement strategies not only by delivering value for money insurance solutions and services but by also promoting the importance of health and wellbeing.
Why? Well, we know those who understand and engage in a journey towards better health and wellbeing should see significant improvement in their underlying health. The flow on effect and general economic and social benefits of improved health and wellbeing is - in itself - worth investing in. There is an important community benefit.
In the case of mental health, we know those who live with a mental illness are impacted in their prime adult working years, have a shorter average life expectancy and are over represented in the homeless and prison populations. They also require a vast array of government and community services including housing, care, income support, and employment and training.
In addition to the overall economic and social benefits improved health and wellbeing can bring, being able to intervene and support members earlier can dramatically improve the member experience and outcomes at an individual level. Our ‘Back to Wellness’ Program has been externally recognised as leading the market, receiving the Association of Financial Advisers Life Company of the Year Awards ‘Risk Product Innovation Award for 2016’, and is designed to support clients affected by mental health conditions, with the aim of helping them get back to being themselves and embracing wellness as soon as possible.
At CommInsure, we want to bring a co-design concept to our health and wellbeing strategy, starting with a portal that we develop in partnership with our superannuation funds for their employers and members.
While we and our partners bring medical science, life insurance and risk management knowledge and content, our superannuation fund partners bring their member engagement strategies as well as financial literacy and superannuation knowledge.
This co-design concept, leveraging design thinking programs in our Innovation Lab, will ensure a best in breed approach that has subject matter experts working together, collaborating and bringing content that is tailored for the fund and its members and, most importantly, not an off the shelf solution.
In the case of group insurance, we can take the right tools to the employers and members of our superannuation fund partners in plain English that’s tailored to their membership. If the superannuation fund caters for example to the hospitality industry, we can tilt content, programs, tools and touch-points towards common injuries suffered by those in that industry such as back injuries from slips and falls.
In addition, incentives and reward programs, such as gym membership benefits or activity tracker discounts, can provide valuable ways for members to engage and effective methods of recognising those who are taking active steps to improve their health and wellbeing.
At the same time, every industry is moving towards greater personalisation, not less, and one of the greatest enablers in supporting this transition movement is data and analytics.
The ability to collect, store and process timely, accurate and comprehensive data will give us the capacity to enhance our understanding of members’ needs. Collaboration on data and design thinking allows insurers and superannuation funds to embark on a journey of greater tailoring which can lead for example on the development of early intervention, rehabilitation and mental health programs as leading indicators are detected and shape and evolve future products and services.
Importantly, we know that superannuation funds and insurance providers collaborating and educating members in health and wellbeing, risk prevention and risk management will improve the overall profile of members, ultimately providing benefits to all parties.
But the greater benefit is a clearer alignment of interests between life insurers, superannuation funds, employers and members. This is the challenge for our industry and a big part of the solution sits with superannuation funds and insurers driving value from the sum of their parts and turbocharging the health and wellbeing outcomes of our shared members.
This article was prepared by The Colonial Mutual Life Assurance Society Limited ABN 12 004 021 809 AFSL 235035 (CMLA) which is a wholly owned but non-guaranteed subsidiary of Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN 48 123 123 124. The information is of a general nature only and should not be regarded as advice, financial or otherwise. CommInsure is a registered business name of CMLA.