ADVO Group’s Commercial Director, Colin Boxall, lended his expert opinion to ‘Health Insurance & Protection Daily’ in an online article looking at the ever expanding mobile technology landscapes for healthcare, wellbeing and employee benefits. Commenting on today’s current technological offerings, Boxall said “Employee expectations are changing. As their lives move to instant access of information they will increasingly expect this from their employers. Insurers are quickly responding to these challenges and additional online services such as virtual GP appointments leading to claim authorisations will become commonplace and expected as part of a health insurance policy.
“The introduction of VitalityHealth’s online GP service later this year, preceded by Simplyhealth’s myWellbeing [for corporate clients providing GP services, advice and counselling helplines and health information] are an excellent response and a natural progression in response to not only advances in technology but the general public’s problems accessing primary care.
“For international policies the wider capabilities of claims submission and wider health support as currently available through Allianz Worldwide Care’s MyHealth app are more than a ‘nice to have’ making a real difference in how employees can access and pay for medical care.”
Boxall further commented on the real value of today’s applications and technology for clients “As with wider traditional ‘softer’ benefits I do not believe many clients would currently choose to move a policy based purely on enhanced online capabilities, they are however an excellent ‘tipping point’ where price is similar allowing wider new business opportunities.”
“Technology is all about ‘staying connected’ and we believe employees want to feel this is as real for them in the workplace as in other parts of their lives,” he says. “They want to know what their company is thinking, doing and planning and they want to feel that their employer is talking to them – that they are ‘engaged’.”
ADVO are of course themselves long-standing proponents of utilising such technology to benefit clients. ADVO’s own technology platform, ‘ADVO Online’ provides members with details of their particular insurance policy, what’s covered by the insurance policy, how to make a claim, how to find the treatment centre that’s right for them, and much more. Boxall commented on the unique value of ADVO Online “It does the job of other systems, such as including Total Reward Statements which cost many thousands of pounds but is actually more tailored towards benefits than any we have seen. Unusually for technology platforms ADVO-owned technology for staff portals and HR management capability are covered by existing adviser fees. Smartphone access complements and meets today’s expectations.
“We believe the way forward for best communicating the value of benefits to staff is via an online application which they are curious to check out ‘a little and often’ and is always to hand. The staff portal could include online discount shopping to drive traffic to the site.
“The use of technology moves client conversations away from products to how to more effectively manage data management and communicate with their employees.”