Like every other field, technology is all set to transform the health insurance sector in India. Wearable devices such as fitness bands, smart contact lenses, implantable devices, and skin patch sensors among others are already gaining popularity in the healthcare industry. Even the insurance regulator is batting for the use of wearable devices to gather real time data about the health insurance policy holders.
Due to the sedentary lifestyle, there is a constant rise in the cases of lifestyle diseases in India, and the data provided by these smart devices is likely to impact the frequency of illnesses and health insurance claims.
With 25.8% market share health insurance is the second most important segment after motor insurance. And adopting technology in the healthcare sector will be a significant move not only for the insurers and the policyholders but also for the health insurance sector in India.
Use of Wearable Devices to Predict the Customer Behavior
At present, health insurance companies can only asses the profile of a customer on the basis of medical tests and self-declaration. As the real-time update is not available, in most cases lifestyle related medical issues are missed out. However, the integration of wearable devices would ensure Regular health updates in the form of customer’s health statistics to the insurance providers.
The insurer can further use the data to assess the risk factor and the scope of improvement. The powerful sensor technology in wearable devices makes it possible to track user’s diet patterns, movement, emotions, sleeping patterns, heartbeat, calories burnt and weight. A weekly update can be sent to the patient/customers, the insurer and even the concerned doctor.
This data can further be analyzed to determine the health insurance premium and offer discounts to the customers for maintaining good health records.
Incentivize Customers on the Basis of the Health Records
The Insurance Regulatory Authority of India (IRDAI) permits the health insurance providers in India to concoct ways to reward policyholders for their health initiatives. A lot of insurers give the option of wellness programs.
As per the reports, nearly 15% to 20% of the customers like to opt for some kind of reward programs. And wearable devices would make it even simpler for the insurer to offers rewards and discounts to the insured individuals.
For instance, the insurance company can provide a discount to heart-patients on the premium at the time of renewal, if the date reflects lifestyle alterations and improvement in cardiovascular health.
Moreover, the insurance companies can also segment customers based on their health profiles, offer discounts on premiums, speed-up the claim settlement and renewal process.
The customers can claim these rewards to earn discounts on medical check-ups, medication, and doctor consultation at the network hospitals.
The use of smart devices is not only restricted to rewards and discounts, or reducing the frequency if claims. A lot of people especially millennials are already investing in wearable gadgets to map their personal fitness metrics.
The penetration of health in India is only 25% to 30% as per the FICCI and KPMG report and the technology powered devices are surely going to ramp up the numbers. The concept of engaging the customers on the go through wearable devices is going to intrigue the millennials.
Moreover, the hybrid combination of health insurance and wearable gadgets would help in transforming the current perception about the process of claim settlement and the factors used to determine the cost of premiums.
Not only it will bring transparency but will also inculcate a feeling of satisfaction on being charged fairly and being rewarded for health initiatives. Furthermore, it will change the perception of health insurance being limited to hospitalization only.
Undoubtedly, the concept of wearable technology would take considerable time to establish in the health insurance market; however, the industry experts believe that a 25% customer engagement would prove to be a game changer in the nascent stage.