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Hollard Life amplifies its specialised risk insurance offering with wellness coaching

Hollard Life amplifies its specialised risk insurance offering with wellness coaching
03-11-23 / Sisanda Ndlovu

Hollard Life amplifies its specialised risk insurance offering with wellness coaching

Johannesburg - Hollard Life Solutions is reinforcing its strategy in the underwritten segment as a specialised risk insurer. This strategy focuses on providing specialised risk insurance premised on three main areas: business assurance, specialised product and underwriting, and wellness coaching.

According to Poovan Perumal, head of product, pricing, and sales enablement at Hollard Life Solutions, one of the biggest challenges in the insurance market is that many providers aim to attract healthy clients, with incentives in place to only benefit individuals who stay fit and keep super healthy through rewards, premium discounts, and loyalty schemes. However, the reality is that not everyone can keep up, people are not superhuman. Hollard Life Solutions strategy moves away from this traditional thinking, recognising that we are dealing with unique individuals with real-life issues, and we need to help people to better manage health-related risks and help them enhance their overall quality of life in a way they are most comfortable with.

To support its strategy, Hollard Life Solutions has introduced Health Guru, a wellness coaching platform that provides its clients real-time access to personal health coaches to guide and support them in making changes that will make their health goals a reality. Also available is a wide range of informational reading material and videos that are suitably recommended based on the client’s initial health vision of choice. This forms part of Hollard’s new specialised risk insurer profile.

“Many South Africans are living with co-morbidities and underwriting them for insurance can be complex,” says Perumal. “It also requires levels of technical expertise to price them appropriately. While there is a lot of information available to help customers manage their health risks on their own, we want to provide them with convenient tools and support to enable them to achieve their health vision.” Examples of such lives might include clients with diabetes or high BMI scores – Health Guru will provide such clients with wellness coaching to manage their conditions along the way, should they choose this as their health vision. Perumal believes that providing such support to higher-risk lives could help them lead a better quality of life and result in reduced risks of mortality and/or morbidity.

At its core, the Health Guru wellness coaching is forward-looking and acknowledges that each person's health and wellness journey is unique, and their needs and aspirations should be addressed individually. “A central part of wellness coaching is customer empowerment, Perumal says.

“This is done in a very personalised manner, our wellness coaches are invested in supporting customers on their health and wellness journey, and provide them with the knowledge, tools, and support they need to make informed decisions about their health and wellness.

“In this process, policyholders, working with coaches, have someone to hold their hand on their wellness journey. There is no pressure for incentives, instead, this is a journey that recognises the individual’s holistic circumstances, to help the customer navigate their health and wellness journey. We are embracing a customer-centric approach in wellness coaching, where the customer informs the journey and we are here to equip and guide the customer to reach the goals they have set for themselves,” says Perumal.

Steve Piper, Head of Underwritten Intermediary Sales at Hollard Life Solutions notes, “One of the biggest challenges with severely impaired lives lies in finding mutually acceptable terms that are acceptable to the insured party's preferences while maintaining the insurer's comfort level of exposure to risk. In many cases, the looming and substantial risk of claims becomes so pronounced that the pricing necessary to cover such claims and related costs becomes financially burdensome.”

Piper adds that, while insurance fundamentally operates on the principle of risk pooling, which entails the distribution of risk, it is equally imperative to uphold fairness among the diverse groups of policyholders. “Insurers strive to strike a balance by managing the extent of risk cross-subsidies in the overall book,” he says. “When it comes to underwriting these conditions for insurance purposes, the process can be intricate and demands a substantial level of technical proficiency to accurately determine appropriate pricing. Despite the abundant wealth of information accessible to help individuals in managing their health risk factors, the complexity of co-morbidities necessitates specialised expertise in the insurance sector.”

Piper explains that in striking a balance to address some of these challenges, Hollard has enhanced its underwriting processes to consider all available information and data to ensure that as many people as possible, who would not traditionally qualify for coverage with other insurers, are covered equally.

“We are leveraging automated underwriting tools that harness the power of machine learning to refine and constantly update our rules in line with real-life circumstances. In addition, we have also taken a decision to offer a deferred life underwriting option, to ensure that individuals can secure some form of coverage, even in cases where the market may have reservations about their insurability,” says Piper.

“As we continue to navigate the digital age, without a doubt, product design will need to be more flexible, recognising the evolving nature of real-life circumstances,” he concludes.

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