Editors' Cuts

Insurers Experimenting with Customer Engagement Methods

Pat Speer
Insurance Experts' Forum, December 11, 2012

Insurers face an uphill battle when it comes to finding new ways to engage the customer. By line of business, those challenges are unique: P&C carriers face enormous competition on brand, price and recidivism; life carriers are cursed with product particulars, which often relate only to one-off or “low engagement” opportunities.

Health insurers struggle on a variety of fronts, facing the more obvious issues of regulatory compliance and the less obvious ones, such as true customer segmentation intelligence. Consider that information such as demographics (i.e. age, life stage) and point of sale (direct, employer sponsored) don’t necessarily offer insights that enable them to engage and retain new business.

For health insurers, the goal isn’t to make this a guessing game, although some customer engagement plans may look like it. Rather, it’s to make it as easy as possible for customers to obtain coverage, even if it means creating a one-stop shopping experience for them. Becker’s Hospital Review quotes a Kaiser Health News report from 2011 which holds that four of the five largest health insurers have increased physician holdings, and UnitedHealth Group has been buying medical groups and launching physician management companies. This is now a common practice.

Of course, health insurers in particular seek to engage and retain healthy customers. In the news this week, we heard about Humana, which saw an opportunity to provide popular, fun activities that drive brand and members’ health by extending its partnership with software provider Ubisoft and the “Your Shape: Fitness Evolved” exergame franchise.

Now available exclusively on the new Wii U game console from Nintendo, “Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2013” delivers a fitness experience that Humana says for the first time leverages second-screen gaming, reaches a wider audience of casual gamers in the process.

Humana’s most recent marketing initiative is made possible through HumanaVitality, a joint venture between Humana Inc. and Discovery Holdings, Ltd. Humana partnered with Discovery because of its 14 years of experience using behavioral, clinical and actuarial science to motivate individuals to make healthier choices.

I find Humana’s efforts notable for a couple of reasons: they realize that customer engagement is not a “one size fits all” approach, and they’ve proven this by tailoring the exergame offering to fit the needs of its existing and potential customers.

Second, Humana has combined entertainment with physical fitness to drive brand and business outcomes.

It will be interesting to review Humana’s loss ratios a year from now. No doubt Humana will also track whether the popularity of its exergaming results in a decrease in claims and an increase in referrals, etc.

Pat Speer is an editorial consultant for Insurance Networking News.

Readers are encouraged to respond to Pat by using the “Add Your Comments” box below. Shealso can be reached at patricia.speer@sourcemedia.com.

This blog was exclusively written for Insurance Networking News. It may not be reposted or reused without permission from Insurance Networking News.

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