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Is Home the Next Prize for Insurers?

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3 minutes, 15 seconds read

As work from home is proving to be efficient and productive, people are beginning to make their houses more comfortable to make it conducive to good work results. 69% of Indian employees believe that their productivity has improved while working from home. The creation of an organized space and additional expenses on equipment for professional needs are some of the requirements that Indian employees might need to do. As people are slowly adjusting to the ‘better normal’, it is paving a way for a connected living. Even though connected living was in its nascent stage before the pandemic, people will witness its necessity now. As most homes would transform, people are most likely to get home insurance now, therefore homes can be the next prize for insurers. 

Existing gaps between home insurance and customers

Home insurance penetration is just about 1% in India and barely 3% of houses are insured. Despite going through financial tension of repairing and reinstalling certain contents of the house, people are unwilling to buy home insurance. Houses older than 30 years are not insured and coverage for loss of Gold deems unsatisfactory among the customers. These are the most commonly cited reasons for people being hesitant to buy home insurance. Apart from this, one of the common misconceptions is the lengthy claim settlements. As people are gradually adopting more digital-enabled services in the ‘better normal’, home insurance is likely to witness a fundamental shift.

Home Insurance is the next prize for insurers

With remote working, newer risks are likely to prop up. For instance, while using the Zoom platform, a lot of people suffered security issues. Cyber risk and cybercrime coverages are not usually included by most standard home insurance companies but are slowly becoming popular. For instance, State Farm is the only major home insurance company that offers personal cyber insurance in addition to a standard homeowner insurance policy. 

Insurers are recognizing the significance of smart-home services that can help them enhance their offerings and personalize the customer experience. Installation of smart home devices would lead the insurers to become watchdogs of the contents of the house. Connected security systems and smart-home devices also mean low premium, thus allowing insurers to change the value proposition.

The world of connected living will also bring the opportunity of partnerships. For example, AXA partnered with connected device manufacturers to enhance its offering. It has developed a mobile application “MY AXA” with which it can control the smart-home devices. MyFox, Kiwatch, Philips Hue, Orange My Plug are some of the manufactures with which AXA has partnered. Owing to this, customers can get policies at a lower premium. 

Work from home has made people realize the necessity of a conducive environment to work smoothly. A comfortable space and installation of technologies and equipment at home for professional demands are being recognized by people. Owing to this, home insurers can expect calls from their customers who might want to know the coverage of assets. Few contents can also require extra coverage such as electronics, depending on the level of usage. For instance, Lemonade’s contents insurance covers contents with extra coverage on assets such as bikes, jewellery, etc. If a customer wants extra coverage on their camera, they would be required to send pictures of the receipt and camera. In the case the receipt is misplaced, insurers can determine the replacement value based on the current value of the camera. 

Conclusion

People have seen a change in their lifestyle, and are buying products to make their houses comfortable to work in. Content insurance can ease lifestyle by providing extra coverage on valuable assets, and act as watchdogs for physical assets. As priorities are meant to change in the ‘Better Normal’, people are likely to consider home insurance. With the ‘Better Normal’ and modification in work culture, the insurance sector is also likely to transform its services to cater to customer needs.   

Further Readings:

  1. The State of AI chatbots in Insurance 2020 Report
  2. Mantra Labs joins the third annual Insurtech100 list
  3. Contactless Solutions in Insurance
  4. The CIO guide to keeping operations up during pandemics
  5. COVID-19 Lockdown Effects: A Paradigm Shift in Indian Edtech
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What will ‘Behavioural Changes’ Mean for India’s Digital Health Future

We are in the middle of a global pandemic, facing a threat unlike one never seen before. COVID-19 has been a reason for global concern since it has negatively impacted economies, shut down workplaces, and forced cities into lockdowns.

But history also tells us  that times of uncertainty also foster innovation. The pandemic has forced consumers and businesses to rethink how they behave both physically and digitally. As per McKinsey, COVID-19 has speeded up the adoption of digital technologies.

India, which was on the cusp of a ‘digital health’ revolution, has now been forced to embrace innovation and emerging trends. The healthcare sector holds great promise since new-age technologies like telemedicine, robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), genomics, etc. are transforming healthcare services.

There have been unprecedented changes in consumer behaviour as well. People are now increasingly relying on using the internet to find clinical information or engage with healthcare professionals digitally. Moreover, online consultations, telemedicine, and e-pharmacies have seen a rise in popularity.

Companies will thus need to capitalize on the changing patterns of consumption and health-seeking behaviour.

This article focuses on how changing patient behaviour will affect India’s digital health future.

A growing Indian healthcare market

According to a report by Future Health Index, India is a leader in the adoption of digital health technology. As per India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), the Indian healthcare market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 22% to reach a valuation of USD 372 billion by 2022. This growth can be attributed to the following –

  • Growing health awareness
  • Aging population
  • Lifestyle-related diseases
  • Rising income levels
  • Growth of internet availability

The rise of digital health start-ups is also playing a role in the growth of the healthcare sector. Indian health tech startup landscape has now matured.

Over the last few years, telemedicine has emerged as a fast-growing sector in India. Prominent start-ups like Practo, mfine, and Lybrate have established themselves in the telehealth market. McKinsey estimates that India could save up to USD10 billion by 2025 by using telemedicine instead of in-person doctor appointments.

COVID-induced behavioural changes

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about changes to patient behaviour. The fear of leaving homes to get treatment has led to the growth of virtual care and telemedicine. 

As per a report by Accenture, almost 70% of the patients canceled or postponed their treatments due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Technology, therefore, played a crucial role in helping patients continue their care. Healthcare providers were even able to improve the experience for patients by delivering them faster response time, personalized interactions, and the convenience of getting consultation from home.

The same report by Accenture highlights some key behavioural changes that are being observed in patients – 

  • Nearly half of the patients now get their treatment at their homes instead of visiting a clinic.
  • Almost 60% of patients want to continue using technology for communicating with healthcare providers.
  • About 41% of patients now use video conferencing to connect with their healthcare providers. Of these, for almost 70% of patients, it’s their first-time using video conferencing for healthcare.
  • Almost 44% of patients used new apps or devices during the pandemic to manage their health conditions.

All this highlights the need for healthcare providers to reimagine their patient engagement strategies in keeping with the changing patient behavior.

Future of digital health in India

New digital technologies and tools are making an impact across the healthcare sector. They hold great promise in improving the efficiency of healthcare services while delivering better patient care. Below are some of the technological developments that are expected to revolutionize the way we seek healthcare.

Telemedicine

About 68% of India’s population lives in rural areas where healthcare services are not usually up to the mark. This barrier can be overcome by telemedicine that offers an excellent way for patients to consult a doctor in a much shorter duration. Telemedicine can cut waiting times and allow patients to avoid traveling to a clinic or hospital. Some other benefits of telemedicine include –

  • Immediate access to specialist healthcare providers.
  • Cost-effectiveness.
  • Improved quality of care.
  • Convenience to the patients.
  • Improved patient engagement.

Internet of medical things (IoMT)

The rapid growth of IoMT devices is rapidly changing healthcare delivery by playing an important role in tracking and preventing chronic illnesses.

It not only helps eliminate the need for in-person medical visits but also helps reduce costs. Goldman Sachs estimates IoMT to save USD 300 billion annually for the healthcare industry. IoMT will benefit those patients the most who are unable to get access to quality healthcare due to remote location.

Big data in healthcare

There has been dramatic growth in the amount of medical and health data in the last few years. These massive datasets can be used to draw insights and opportunities for healthcare organizations. Analysis of healthcare data can help discover warning signs and create preventive plans.

The widespread adoption of IoT devices also makes it easier to monitor heart rate, blood pressure, etc. This can help in the early detection of diseases like hypertension, asthma, heart problems, etc.

Electronic medical records

Electronic medical records or EMRs help collect, digitalize patients’ information, and store it in a single place. EMRs store various types of medical data like medical history, prescriptions, drug allergies, etc. and allow doctors to make accurate disease prognosis in a much shorter time. Some other benefits of EMRs include – 

  • Effective medical decisions.
  • Easy data recovery.
  • Improved collaboration.
  • Portability.
  • Security of medical data.

Artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) has a big role to play in improving healthcare since growing digitization leads to the availability of a large amount of health data. AI has the potential to transform everyday health management in the following ways –

  • Improved accessibility of healthcare services (for example – the AI-based mobile app Ada is available across 140 countries and makes it possible for anyone to have access to medical guidance).
  • Improved efficiency.
  • Accurate disease diagnosis.
  • Improved insights to reveal early disease risks (for example – a popular app Verily can forecast noncontagious and hereditary genetic diseases).
  • Time and cost savings.

mHealth

Mobile health or mHealth refers to the monitoring and sharing of health data via mobile technology like health tracking apps or wearables. 

mHealth apps can prove to be beneficial in increasing patient engagement, providing health education, and offering remote consultations to patients. It can also use the data from wearable devices to improve the quality of care. Some other benefits of mHealth include – 

  • Faster access to physicians.
  • Improved medication adherence.
  • Remote patient monitoring.
  • Increased medication reconciliation accuracy.
  • Improved coordination between healthcare providers and patients.

Conclusion

It’s quite clear that COVID-19 has significantly impacted patient behaviour. There has been a growing preference for telehealth and mHealth apps. But all of this has also compelled healthcare organizations to put in more effort in adapting to these behavioural changes. Healthcare providers are opting to rely more on new technologies to continue delivering patient care. A more affordable standard of high-quality care is in the works for India’s digital health future.

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