It’s no surprise that Covid has changed healthcare insurance around the world. First, it concentrated minds as regards reducing transmission and developing a vaccine that minimised the worst effects of the virus. But in the longer term, the pandemic has encouraged millions to take a more holistic approach to their wellbeing, from the work/life balance to social distancing and increased mask-wearing for example.
Who are Optimity? They work with employers and insurers to help people become and enjoy a healthier life and the app offers various food, travel and lifestyle rewards – the proverbial “carrot” to carry them through as motivation in managing their health and wellness.
Optimity are an interesting company because they’ve already tapped into the growing trend of online health apps, plus their consumer database and user experience feedback helps them develop new products. There are lessons here for many brokers and insurers in the UK health sector too, as customer engagement is a big topic.
IE spoke to Optimity CEO Jane J. Wang to find out more.
IE; Lots of insurers use rewards as part of their app, but what sort of things drive useful data?
JW; Partly because of the pandemic, it’s the social good aspect that can really earn your brand some useful feedback. People want to believe that they’re doing the right thing and that translates into healthcare and wellbeing too.
Then you can personalise that data by demographics; age groups, location, lifestyle habits and so on. Users of the Optimity app earn gems — which are earned by short activities like exercise, meditation, changing your diet a little bit, quizzes, and so on. Those gems can then be “cashed in” to treat themselves to exclusive products and services like gift cards, discounts and travel rewards. We take a holistic view because that’s what works best and if you try to optimise your life in “micro” ways then it can add up to positive changes.
APP USER FEEDBACK REALLY MATTERS
IE; How important is feedback from app users?
JW; Incredibly important. I mean it isn’t just tracking which features of the app are being used, how many minutes a day, or which rewards are being collected etc. It’s things like user surveys which can really help your brand grow. For example we did a survey across North America which generated 138,000 responses and that data lets you cross reference patterns of lifestyle behaviours, exercises, mindfulness and so on.
Having an audience that’s really engaged with your product is a win-win because it helps you develop new benefits and features based on that feedback.
IE; That response is impressive, in the UK a survey above 2,000 people is considered in-depth! What were the key takeaways from a survey like that?
JW; The really interesting thing is how aspirational our Optimity users are. We are seeing a young generation investing in stocks, start-ups or crypto now, in a way that didn’t really happen so much before the pandemic. Then you have empty-nesters also looking to secure their future financially, as well as in terms of overall health. The two can go hand-in-hand and that can really be important for employers as well as insurance brands.
IE; Yes, interesting that financial health is an integral part of mental health and so many insurers don’t really communicate messages to policyholders in a holistic way, it can just turn into an exercise app.
JW; At Optimity our average user is aged 36 and many are just adding to their family, or starting one, so their needs are really changing. It could be extra life insurance coverage, upgrading healthcare plans, changing vehicles, all kinds of stuff. You know we get some great suggestions from our user base for activities, health tips or new rewards.
Our aim is to sign up 100 million people worldwide, which is a big number but we believe this is a wonderful product that really changes and improves lives. The thing is that many companies will find their employees really want benefits like healthcare and wellness in the future, it’s going to become part of the package.
IE; Do you sense that there’s a new mood of empowerment, of people taking control of health rather than receiving healthcare and treatments when they fall ill?
JW; Definitely, and apps can give people that motivation, that aspiration, to take control of their lives in lots of little ways. It isn’t just their own wellbeing that’s important either, one of the things that’s emerged as a result of the pandemic is a feeling of creating a legacy, of this greater good and this is definitely going to be a big part of healthcare apps and services in the future.
IE; Jane, really interesting insights, thank you.