As healthcare costs continue to rise in India, the need for comprehensive health insurance coverage has become paramount, shared Sapna Desai, Chief Marketing Officer, ManipalCigna Health Insurance in an exclusive interaction with Srajan Agarwal of Elets News Network (ENN)
Given the rapidly changing healthcare landscape, what is ManipalCigna’s perspective on the health insurance outlook for 2024? How do you foresee the market dynamics shifting, and what role does your organisation play in shaping the industry’s future?
In light of the rapidly evolving healthcare landscape in India and the developments such as the Bima Sugam portal and the expansion of cashless settlement services in the health insurance sector, We at ManipalCigna anticipate several key trends and opportunities in the health insurance outlook for 2024. We believe that digital transformation will continue to play a pivotal role in the health insurance sector. The Bima Sugam portal exemplifies the trend towards simplifying and streamlining insurance processes. At ManipalCigna we are committed to harnessing digital innovations to enhance the customer experience, whether it’s through seamless online policy purchases, claims processing, or accessing healthcare services.
As the healthcare landscape shifts, we foresee a growing demand for customer-centric health insurance solutions. The initiatives mentioned, such as a unified network of hospitals and fully cashless settlements, underscore the importance of accessibility and convenience. The expansion of a nationwide common cashless hospital network emphasises collaboration within the industry. ManipalCigna recognises the significance of partnerships with healthcare providers, hospitals, and industry stakeholders to ensure that our policyholders have access to quality healthcare services. The regulator IRDAI also aims to boost insurance penetration with the mission of “Insurance for all” by 2047 and is taking various initiatives to make this happen. As the regulatory landscape evolves, we are prepared to adapt to new requirements and guidelines. Staying compliant and transparent is essential to our operations and ensuring that our policyholders receive the best possible healthcare financing experience. Moreover, the Health Insurance penetration in India is still among the lowest in the world. The rising cost of healthcare poses a significant opportunity for health insurers to provide affordable coverage to the “missing middle” and lower-income strata. We at ManipalCigna are committed to delivering innovative and customer-centric solutions to provide people easy and lifetime access to quality healthcare.
The recent appointment by IRDAI for ManipalCigna as the lead insurer in Karnataka is a significant milestone. How does this recognition align with the company’s broader vision for expansion in the southern regions of India? What challenges and opportunities do you anticipate in this new role?
We are truly honored by our recent appointment as the lead insurer for IRDAI’s state insurance plan in Karnataka. This recognition is a significant milestone for our company, and it aligns perfectly with the goal of the state insurance plan – to provide easy and lifetime access to quality healthcare to every citizen. By leveraging the exceptional healthcare expertise of Manipal Hospitals and the local presence of the Manipal Group, we are fully committed to transforming IRDAI’s visionary goal of ‘Insurance for All 2047’ into a reality for the people of Karnataka.
With our comprehensive understanding of the region’s demographic and health profile, ManipalCigna Health Insurance, in partnership with Manipal Hospitals, is conducting more health camps and various on-ground awareness activities across the region in the next financial year. This approach will promote preventive health measures and drive insurance adoption among the local population. To boost insurance penetration across the state of Karnataka and convey the significance of health insurance, we’ve also launched a Kannada tagline, “Health Insurance Avashyaka” (Health Insurance is a Necessity). This tagline underscores the idea that health and financial well-being go hand in hand, and one’s financial security isn’t complete without insurance coverage. We will actively collaborate with government agencies, local healthcare providers, and community organisations to drive awareness campaigns, educational initiatives, and enrollment drives. This presents an exciting opportunity for us to make a positive impact on the lives of the people of Karnataka.
OPD coverage and women’s health have been highlighted as focal areas for ManipalCigna. Could you elaborate your initiatives in these domains and how they are different from your competitors?
As healthcare costs continue to rise in India, the need for comprehensive health insurance coverage has become paramount. While most health insurance plans primarily focus on sexpenses, there is a growing recognition of the importance of Outpatient Department (OPD) cover. Therefore, to protect people’s finances from day to day healthcare expenses such as doctor’s consultation fees, prescribed diagnostic tests and pharmacy, we launched ManipalCigna ProHealth Prime. ProHealth Prime gives policy holders an option of ₹ 20,000, ₹ 30,000 or ₹ 50000 per policy year, to cover for expenses they incur on outpatient expenses, including dental, vision, physical doctor consultation fees, prescribed medicines, etc. Further, our new digitally enabled, unique App based Cashless OPD proposition under ManipalCigna ProHealth Prime helps our customers reduce the burden of out-of-pocket spending at just a click of a button. This sets us apart from many competitors and ensures our policyholders can proactively manage their health and wellness without financial constraints.
In women’s health, ManipalCigna Lifetime Health plan offers women specific coverages such as a wellness screening package for women, designed by experts, offering cancer screenings of various organs, gynecological, psychiatric and psychological consultations every year and cervical cancer vaccination. This helps in eliminating the scope of cervical cancer apart from assisting in early detection of cancer in any other organs thus helps in better recovery/cure.
We at ManipalCigna recognise that women’s health is a critical area that requires special attention, and we aim to provide a tailored solution that not only sets us apart but also contributes to better healthcare financing for women. Our initiatives in these domains are different from our competitors because they focus on specific, often unmet needs within the healthcare landscape. We are dedicated to offering affordable, predictable, and simple health insurance products that cater to diverse customer segments.
Given your vast experience in marketing and brand strategy, how are you approaching the development of innovative insurance products tailored for different customer segments? Are there any upcoming products or services that you can tell us about?
Our approach to developing innovative insurance products tailored for different customer segments is deeply rooted in understanding and addressing the diverse and evolving needs of our customers. We recognise that one size does not fit all when it comes to health insurance, and therefore, our strategy revolves around offering a wide range of specialised products. We start by segmenting our customer base and gaining insights into their unique requirements. This segmentation helps us identify specific pain points and opportunities within each group. We then develop health insurance products that are specifically tailored to meet the needs of these segments. For instance, ManipalCigna Lifetime Health plan . comes with two variants Lifetime Health India Plan and Lifetime Health Global Plan that offers a high level of protection with Sum Insured ranging from Rs.50 lacs to Rs.3 crores to give people financial access to cover advanced treatments and procedures, globally for up to 27 major illnesses, and most importantly looks after their unique healthcare requirements for a lifetime. Also, ManipalCigna ProHealth Prime’ plan is not just a health insurance plan but a Complete Healthcare Insurance plan as it not only covers all types of hospitalisation expenses but also comes with revolutionary features such “Cashless OPD” coverage for doctor consultation, prescribed diagnostic tests and pharmacy expenses, It covers “Non-medical Expenses” to ensure there are zero deductions towards non-medical items during hospitalisation and many more such enticing benefits.
At ManipalCigna, we have always been at the forefront in meeting the consumer’s needs and whenever we have come up with any new product, we have ensured that our product. We constantly explore emerging trends in healthcare and insurance to develop new and relevant products. ManipalCigna Accident Shield and Prime Senior are examples of our commitment to offering innovative solutions. We also offer riders like Health 360 to enhance coverage and provide additional benefits to our policyholders, allowing them to tailor their insurance to their individual needs. We ensure that our marketing and brand communication strategies are aligned with each product’s target audience. Clear and effective communication is essential in conveying the value and benefits of our diverse product offerings.
In the coming months, we plan to strengthen our existing product proposition through Addon Rider for better benefits and we plan to have a modular approach in our upcoming products to ensure affordable, predictable, and simple health insurance solutions.
Drawing from your rich experience across various service industries and esteemed roles, how have those experiences shaped your approach at ManipalCigna? What key insights from your diverse background do you bring to the table, especially in the realm of marketing and brand strategy?
The health insurance penetration in India is very low, and underinsured and uninsured is an untapped market. Thus, keeping in line with our customer first philosophy, we at ManipalCigna aspire to create an outside-in marketing organisation that drives customer value to fully enable profitable business growth. We do this by building on ManipalCigna’s brand story across consumer segments; strengthening customer access, experience and direct sales; and through increased media, customer and employee engagement strategy and tactics.
Marketing for the insurance industry is not just about ‘Image Marketing’ but rather it is all about ‘Service Marketing’ based on establishing trust, building deeper connections, and creating positive outcomes in the consumer’s journey from Illness to wellness. Further, the rules of the game have changed: people already know that health insurance is a necessity and consumers will certainly choose companies that will strike a balance between brand trust, affordability, innovation, and relationship.
Hence, with the right new-age marketing approaches and technology-driven operations efforts in place, we at ManipalCigna, are committed to build loyalty at every stage of the customer’s journey; make the experience part of the brand to establish trust; and identify changing customer’s healthcare need and stay ahead of emerging market opportunities.