In this exclusive iPMI Global interview, Christopher Knight, CEO, iPMI Global, met with Isabelle Moins, Head of IPMI, Europe and Romain Di Meglio, Head of IPMI, Asia and the Middle East at the APRIL Group. They discussed 2023 in detail and looked at the achievements of the APRIL Group over the past year.
Please introduce yourself and background in the International private medical insurance (iPMI) market:
At APRIL, the IPMI activity is co-headed by Isabelle Moins & Romain di Meglio, who are based in our European and Asian hubs of the Group.
Isabelle Moins, Head of IPMI in Europe for the APRIL Group, boasts a wealth of expertise in international business development and senior management. With a career spanning many years, she has consistently demonstrated her leadership prowess. In her role as Head of IPMI for the European Region since 2018, Isabelle has spearheaded the company's strategic growth initiatives and overseen its operations with remarkable success, leveraging strategic vision and managerial acumen to navigate the challenges of dynamic European markets.
Romain Di Meglio is Head of IPMI in Asia and the Middle East for the APRIL Group. In this capacity, he leads the company in delivering international healthcare solutions across eight Asian markets. Romain's expertise also extends to M&A activities, where he has led APRIL International's drive to explore new avenues for business growth. His strategic vision combines digitalised user experiences with high-value human services, aligning with APRIL International's commitment to innovation in the healthcare sector.
In the past 12 months, what has your business achieved in the iPMI market?
Isabelle Moins: APRIL International has achieved significant growth, with €300m premiums and 150,000 members in 180 countries, demonstrating our commitment to global expansion, technological innovation and enhanced customer experiences. The establishment of a new office in Germany, along with a strategic presence in Dubai, underscores our international growth strategy. An acquisition in Belgium further demonstrates APRIL International's dedication to expanding its European market footprint.
In the realm of digital transformation, we have successfully expanded and refined our digital tools and services. This is evidenced by the extension of telehealth services, which include physician call back, virtual second medical opinion and stress management counselling. We also introduced the Easy Claim Card, a direct billing payment solution. We aim to expand its use in all regions in 2024. These initiatives align with the company's goal of leveraging technology to provide more accessible and efficient healthcare solutions for clients everywhere.
Our accomplishments have led to multiple awards, such as the H&P Best International Individual Health Insurance Provider award and three most recent awards at the Cas d'Or Banque Assurance event for the Easy Claim Card – The Innovation Award, The Global Mobile Offers Award, Silver Award for Innovative New Services. We have also invested in IT and tech improvements allowing us to better support our customers around the globe.
We have also consistently worked towards facilitating access to healthcare by expanding our medical networks. The partnership with Mednet in the UAE and MaxiCare in the Philippines underscores our commitment to ensuring comprehensive and accessible healthcare solutions for our clients. These collective achievements reflect APRIL International's dynamic approach to business, blending global expansion, technological advancements, and a focus on customer well-being.
Geographically speaking, where are the “hot” International private medical insurance (iPMI) markets currently?
Romain Di Meglio: Markets where the prospects for international business expansion are strong include Europe, with Germany standing out as it undergoes a business transformation. Asian countries including China, Hong Kong and Singapore offer lucrative opportunities for private health insurers, especially in sectors like finance and technology.
The Gulf region, epitomised by cities like Dubai, remains a vibrant hub for expatriates, particularly in finance, technology, and hospitality. Finally, Africa, with its emerging markets and growing economies, is increasingly appealing to expats seeking new opportunities. Each of these regions presents unique prospects for businesses looking to tap into diverse and dynamic markets, fostering growth and innovation.
Looking at 2024, what do you have planned for the International private medical insurance (iPMI) market?
Romain Di Meglio: In 2024, we will continue strong organic growth and identifying potential strategic acquisitions to expand our global presence. We aim to invest significantly in digitisation and innovation, ensuring a seamless and efficient experience for our customers and partners. While embracing technology, we remain committed to preserving the personal and important human aspect of our services.
We will continue to provide clients with easy to access, good value local medical support to enable us to accompany clients comprehensively throughout their healthcare journey. This will involve continually deepening our understanding of local healthcare systems, monitoring costs and the quality of local facilities. Our pursuit of digitalisation is central to our aim simplify procedures for policyholders and distributors, whilst ensuring customer-centric, user-friendly processes.
Since Covid-19, how has the International private medical insurance (iPMI) market changed?
Romain Di Meglio: Since the end of COVID-19, the healthcare landscape has undergone significant transformations. The growth of telehealth and digital services has accelerated, becoming a prerequisite for healthcare delivery. There is a heightened emphasis on personalisation, as individuals seek tailored health solutions.
The focus has shifted towards prevention rather than cure, reflecting a proactive approach to well-being. Mental health benefits have gained increased importance, recognising the pandemic's impact on mental well-being.
Corporate health insurance is more profoundly affected, with employees becoming more mobile, and employers feeling pressured to provide robust healthcare benefits to attract and retain top talent.
The demographic shift, including the rise of digital nomads, younger generations, and high net worth individuals, indicates a changing landscape that caters to a more diverse audience who have evolving healthcare needs.
What role is artificial intelligence and machine learning playing in the International private medical insurance (iPMI) market?
Isabelle Moins: AI is likely to play a pivotal role in developing the healthcare market by driving technological advancements that redefine service standards. Market leaders will devise strategies that leverage AI to simplify insurance access and expedite claims processing, enhancing overall efficiency. However, it is crucial for insurers to strike a balance, ensuring that the incorporation of AI does not compromise the human aspect and personalisation integral to the healthcare experience. Successful integration of AI technologies positions companies at the forefront of innovation, distinguishing them in a competitive market where the application of new technologies is a key determinant of service quality and customer satisfaction.
What is the scope for global International private medical insurance?
Isabelle Moins: The scope for international private medical insurance is broad, catering for a diverse range of opportunities. Historically, individual IPMI policies were aimed at expats relocating abroad. The market is now diversifying and include globally mobile people, such as HNWs and digital nomads, consultants and self-employed seeking personalised healthcare solutions. Members in general are becoming more sophisticated, especially given the strains on medical systems and heightened awareness of the need for healthcare cover.
Simultaneously, small and medium sized group schemes will be needed for companies with teams working abroad, addressing the need for best-in-class medical coverage to cover key personnel. The market's depth allows for comprehensive offerings that meet the evolving demands of both individuals and businesses operating in globalised and dynamic business environments.
We have also seen more people opting for fixed-term work contracts, which has led to higher demand for our short-term international private medical insurance (IPMI) plans. This increase in short-term policies might also be because of more students opting to study abroad and expats wanting to try out living abroad before making a long-term or permanent move.
How do you estimate the market size of the International private medical insurance (iPMI) market and what is it worth?
Isabelle Moins: Our estimation places the global market at approximately €15 billion (£13 billion).
Looking ahead, our goal is to organically double our size within four years. Strategic mergers and acquisitions (M&As) will significantly contribute to our expansion, enabling us to reach premium figures ranging between €600 million and €1 billion.
We foresee consolidation occurring within tier two and tier three entities, and we aim to position ourselves as one of the consolidating forces in this landscape.
About APRIL International
APRIL International is the IPMI division of the APRIL Group which operates across 18 countries with a recorded turnover of €590 million in 2022. APRIL’s 2,400 staff members aim to offer customers and partners an outstanding experience combining the best of humans and technology.
Specialists in designing and delivering flexible, simple, and more accessible international private health insurance solutions for individuals, families, students, SMEs and large corporates. By combining local proximity and expertise, APRIL International continue to make life easier for internationally mobile customers wherever they are in the world and whatever the nature and duration of their requirements.