Insurance companies often face a multitude of challenges when developing new products and services for the needs and preferences of modern customers, while also working for them as businesses. In particular, insurers have always struggled to strike the right balance over the thorny issue of travel insurance.
Around 70 percent of UK travellers take out travel insurance before a trip, and this number is surely set to increase as the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic makes travellers more cautious. Despite this, travel has long been the “problem child” of the insurance family - offering only a minor revenue stream with high loss and combined ratios, and a long road to breaking even on a customer.
Yet, with demand set to rise as the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic continues to be felt, embracing digital platforms that facilitate both face-to-face and remotely-delivered care could help insurers turn this challenge into an opportunity.
Rethinking travel insurance
It isn’t just the cost that makes travel insurance problematic for insurers. Generally, insurance companies have been slow to embrace digital transformation, perpetuating a customer experience that alienates huge chunks of the market as a result.
Today, Millennials and Generation Z expect digital-first engagement and experience by default. With the oldest Millennials now entering their 40s, these demographics make up a significant percentage of travellers for the insurance market.
According to our recent survey of UK travellers, 65 per cent of respondents ranked access to private medical care as their most favoured travel insurance add-on, followed by travel disruption cover (18 per cent) and access to telemedicine screenings (10 per cent).
The pandemic has significantly changed attitudes towards remotely-delivered care but also, more broadly, towards the use of technology to organize face-to-face consultations. Falling ill abroad is never going to be a pleasant experience - most of all during a global pandemic - but improving the experience of accessing healthcare is now more crucial than ever. Travel insurance providers must take this on board and tailor their service accordingly to provide a frictionless experience which inspires confidence and loyalty in customers.
A new dawn for insurers?
Health cover might only be part of an insurer’s travel product but, with concerns about Covid-19 likely to drive increased uptake of policies, new technologies could provide an opportunity to tame the “problem child”.
Tapping into the telehealth boom could provide insurers with the opportunity to tackle both customer experience and cost in one fell swoop. Consumers are becoming increasingly comfortable with getting medical advice through apps - accessing doctors on demand just as they would hail an Uber or book an Airbnb. In today’s digitized world, telehealth offers the instant, digitally-native experience they want.
Who are we here for?
Being sick abroad is overwhelming. Being told to visit a local hospital is enough to ruin any trip. We connect you with local physicians and specialists in-person and virtually, ensuring you get the care you need to feel better sooner.
Exceptional physicians are practicing every day across the globe. We partner with doctors and specialists in all regions, giving them a free platform to connect with travelers who need to see a doctor in-person or online.
Insurance groups are partnering with Air Doctor to deliver a new standard of service to their customers. Tapping into our network of healthcare providers and our suite of services, insurers are reducing costs and attracting new policyholders.
By improving the customer journey, organizations show that they are proactive and open to servicing today’s tech-savvy travelers with a secure, customizable application.
The travel health industry is filled with connections between service providers and travelers. Air Doctor is digitizing and streamlining traveler healthcare so that service providers can concentrate on what they do best.
However, the main issue when using telehealth abroad remains access to prescriptions. Only international networks offer the antidote to this problem by offering multilingual local doctors through their telehealth service. These digital platforms can also facilitate physical consultations where necessary - offering travellers control while also addressing their concerns about access, language, and convenience.
By providing travellers with tools to direct them towards the most appropriate form of medical attention for their individual circumstances - whether remote or face-to-face - insurers can reduce claims costs by keeping them out of hospital beds. In doing so insurers can help the wider healthcare community as well as themselves, preventing overcrowding and wasted resources.
The Covid-19 pandemic has proved to be a pivotal crisis, increasing our reliance on technology significantly in a short space of time. Even more importantly, it has forced industries that have been traditionally slow to innovate to accelerate and adapt their offering. All sectors must now consider how best to use the appropriate technology in order to keep their customers safe. Travel insurers have the opportunity to reduce costs and improve their service while also mitigating the major concerns of travellers and the issue of overcrowded hospitals both now and in the longer term.