WPA Protocol’s new plan is aimed at SMEs with 50 or more employees and uses new interactive technology to offer three key elements:
* Precision Corporate Healthcare. This allows companies to effectively design their own health insurance scheme. A bespoke digital interface allows them to set up and alter individual benefit combinations to create the package and price that suits them.
* Precision Analytics. WPA Protocol says this online tool ‘has been designed to remove the mystery behind health insurance premiums and provide transparency and clarity’. It enables employers to see, using anonymised results, what their employees are claiming for and what is driving premium costs and increases and, ultimately, to model the policy that best fits their needs. Over time, it can lead to more effective packages that may also be more sustainable.
* Precision Claim. Employees can get online claim authorisation in just a few minutes using an intelligent, intuitive and simple mobile app.
In effect, WPA Protocol is using its bespoke technology platform to enable client firms to get behind private medical insurance pricing so that they can not just better understand what is driving costs, but also model the cover they want and then implement that. Once they have done that, they can monitor results, model potential changes and again implement any changes they want. Finally, claims can be pre-authorised by employees using their mobile (although claiming by phone and in writing is still available too).
What They Say
Commercial director Mark Southern said: “Insurers who don’t evolve their technology and listen to the demands of the customer will not be with us in five years time. WPA on the other hand, is leveraging technology to give the transparency, flexibility and simplicity that our customers crave.”
What We Say
"Tactically, some employers set up a PMI scheme and then re-broke it periodically. In doing so, they often rely on insurers offering very sweet deals short term. In turn, insurers do that to secure the business, hoping they can then recoup any year one losses in future years.
"Short-term this can work well for all parties but, over time, it’s hard to get away from the simple fact that more claims costs equals more premium spend - eventually.
"WPA’s approach with this plan is to open up its pricing and claims experience, allowing employers (and brokers) so see exactly how a premium is made up and then to change the model if they wish. So, a firm could look at say its outpatient cover and may decide to introduce an excess or even cut the benefit altogether and can see in advance exactly how that will affect its premium. Yes, it can make the buying process a little more complex and time consuming, but it does mean clients will better understand what they are buying and can help ensure their cover is both affordable and sustainable. It may even encourage some to offer more cover if it’s economic to do so.
"It’s very clever and the demonstrations we have seen work well but it has some risks too, not least for the insurer. First, some brokers might benefit from periodic re-broking and would lose out if that is no longer an option. Second, firms may have to pay more initially because they are being asked to pay the ‘right’ price for their cover, rather than the lowest price an insurer is prepared to offer to get them as a new customer today. A few firms might simply let cost drive their decision making too and end up with a bare bones scheme that’s cheap but of little real value.
"For the market leaders, those might be a risk too far. But WPA is both big enough and small enough that it can set its stall out differently and achieve a good market share and pool of business by being different, innovative and, arguably, more transparent than many. It maybe helps that it’s a mutual too.
"As a broker, you’ll either love the approach or hate it – as may some of your clients. For the right client and broker though, it’s a very attractive – and refreshingly honest and open – approach to pricing PMI and perhaps too, may make it more sustainable and maybe even more desirable in future."