Mr Alex Dalton, Now Health International’s Managing Director for Europe has been in the finance industry since 1992, with wide ranging experience from top European finance and insurance companies such as Santander and Goodhealth Worldwide, before joining Now Health International in 2010.
Mr Dalton talks to Global Health Insider about Now Health International’s plans for development, their latest InsurTech projects and the current trends in the IPMI market. Learn more in his full interview below.
A: We have ambitious growth plans for Europe, and the next phase of our strategy is focused on expanding our presence on the European mainland.
Whilst the impact of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union on the wider health insurance industry is still uncertain, overall we see significant opportunities for growth from the increasing number of expats living and working across the continent, as well as those European residents being posted overseas. In particular, we’re seeing growing demand for IPMI products in markets such as France, Spain and increasingly, demand from Eastern Europe.
Building on our success to date in the UK market, our key focus is on growing our distribution networks across the rest of Europe, for our individual, family and SME business. The recent appointment of Nicolas Roubin as Head of Business Development for Europe forms a key part of this strategy, as well as ongoing work to ensure we can better cater to the needs of intermediaries operating across the continent.
Ultimately the key to success in Europe is the ability to offer genuine product and service differentiation that intermediaries and customers value. We feel our brand proposition to provide a hassle free approach to international health insurance, with fast, accurate customer service, and innovative digitals makes us well positioned to grow our business across Europe.
A: Promoting IPMI in Europe presents its own unique challenges and opportunities, many of which are quite different from our work in other markets such as Asia and the Middle East. Europe is a diverse continent with varying standards of healthcare systems, differing regulatory challenges and multiple working languages, all of which creates added complexity when seeking to create an international health insurance product that caters for the whole continent.
However, at Now Health International, we seek to overcome these challenges by delivering truly portable plans for our intermediaries operating across the region, and which our members can take with them when they move within Europe or indeed beyond. There is also often some education work required, as many potential customers are unaware of the benefits that an international health insurance plan can offer in comparison to a local plan which they are often more familiar with.
A: The launch of our AI chatbot is just one step in an ongoing journey to enhance our online experience and provide innovative digital tools for both our members and intermediaries. The new chatbot complements our existing tools such as our online portfolio and smartphone App, all of which help make it easier for our members to access their plan when on the move.
We are continually looking at how we can get better leverage new technologies to the benefit of our members and intermediaries. In the immediate term, our next focus will be on rolling out virtual membership cards to further digitise the claims process and provide a gateway to a more truly integrated health insurance solution.
A: It’s clear that new technologies have significant implications for the health insurance industry as a whole, including IPMI. From the rise of wearables which could help patients better manage their own healthcare, to the role of telemedicine in reducing healthcare costs, through to growing trends in the way big data can be harnessed to improve risk modelling, the potential impact of technology on the sector is far reaching.
However, as the healthcare sector has recently seen, with these new technologies also come risks in terms of data security and customer privacy. At Now Health International our focus is on finding ways to harness these advancements for mutual benefit while continuing to ensure we protect the rights of our members. Our digital tools and new chatbot are part of this ongoing process, and I’m sure that future technological evolution will open up further possibilities we’ve not yet considered.
We’re also seeing a fundamental shift in the way customers perceive health insurance, with increasing demand for a more integrated approach, which encompasses everything from assistance in finding expert medical practitioners to support for healthy lifestyle behaviours. That’s why we’ve recently added three new added value services to our enhanced WorldCare plans, including second medical opinion, global concierge for overseas treatment, and health and safety alerts for when our members travel. In the future, we will continue to look for new ways we can offer a more comprehensive package that looks out for our members’ overall health and well-being.