In this exclusive iPMI Global interview, Christopher Knight, CEO, iPMI Global, met with Janette Hiscock, CEO, UnitedHealthcare Global, Europe and UK. They discussed 2023 in detail and looked at the achievements of UnitedHealthcare Global over the past year.
Please introduce yourself and background in the international private medical insurance (iPMI) market:
I'm Janette Hiscock, the Chief Executive Officer for UnitedHealthcare Global, Europe and UK. With over 25 years of experience in the global health and insurance industry, I've had the privilege of leading the European Insurance and Medical Services divisions of UnitedHealthcare Global since joining in 2017.
Throughout my career, I've worked in various roles within health insurance, medical, assistance, and security services businesses. It's been an incredible journey, and I'm grateful for the opportunities I've had to make a positive impact in these industries.
One aspect of my work that I'm particularly passionate about is supporting and empowering women in the workplace. I believe in the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), and I actively serve as a mentor and advocate for women. In fact, I sit on the Global Advisory Council for UnitedHealth Group and lead the Advance & Develop cohort. I'm a graduate of Swansea University and the Universidad de Salamanca in Spain, where I benefited from both the education and experiences of living and studying abroad, helping shape me into the type of leader I am today. Balancing my career with being a wife and mother of two teenagers hasn’t always been easy, but I am passionate about striving for equity in senior leadership teams, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to make a positive impact both professionally and to show my boys a strong, female role model.
In the past 12 months, what has your business achieved in the iPMI market?
In 2023, UnitedHealthcare Global achieved significant milestones as a business. One of our key accomplishments was the successful implementation of our collaboration in the Netherlands with ONVZ and launch of our BeHealthy Netherlands plans.
After launching the business in late 2018, and successfully building our team and cementing our growth in the UK market, we identified the Netherlands as the next important strategic growth market for UnitedHealthcare Global. The country's growing appeal to global companies in the post-Brexit European landscape made it an ideal choice.
To cater to the needs of both the local and international Dutch market, we formed a valuable collaboration with ONVZ, a leading Dutch insurer. Together, we developed a locally compliant plan that helps ensure seamless access to the Dutch healthcare system for individuals, with minimal or no out-of-pocket expenses. Additionally, we launched the non-mandatory third-party administrator (TPA) access with ONVZ, known as Vecozo, to further enhance the accessibility and convenience of our services.
Looking ahead, we are committed to continuously improving our product and service model. To better serve the unique needs of our international clients, we will be establishing additional local market teams across Europe, which will enable us to provide tailored solutions and exceptional support to our valued customers.
At UnitedHealthcare Global, we remain dedicated to delivering innovative and high-quality healthcare solutions to businesses based across Europe. In addition to our work with ONVZ, we have also focused on strengthening our position in the Middle East. Working with key regional insurers in countries across the globe allows our members to access local healthcare networks and insurance plans, supported by a quality customer experience and locally compliant benefit programmes.
UnitedHealthcare Global is also pleased to announce a new collaboration for 2024 with QLM Life & Medical Insurance Company Q.P.S.C. (QLM), providing a local healthcare insurance solution for clients with members living and working in Qatar. Through our relationship with QLM, we can provide members living and working in Qatar access to an extensive regional care provider network across Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Jordan, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Lebanon, and Oman. It’s through this type of commitment at a local level, as well as vision at a global level, that we can positively impact the experience and wellbeing of our members around the world.
How did you do it?
At UnitedHealthcare Global, we are driven by our core values of performance, compassion, and innovation. These values guide us in developing customer-centric solutions that truly make a difference. Our entire team is united in our mission to deliver exceptional value to our customers. What sets us apart is our collaborative approach. We believe in working together, not only within our team but also with like-minded organizations. This collaborative mindset creates an environment that fosters continuous improvement and adaptability in an ever-changing landscape. By embracing this approach, we can stay ahead of the curve and consistently provide the best possible solutions to our customers.
One of the things that brings me great satisfaction is the relationships we have built with our global customers. Knowing that our collaboration has a positive impact on workers around the world is truly rewarding. We value these relationships and strive to nurture them, ensuring that we are always there for our customers when they need us most. We are bound by our United Culture and deliver with the mindset that we are “There for what matters.”
Equally important are the relationships we have cultivated with healthcare professionals and providers worldwide. These collaborations are crucial in our commitment to being “There for what matters.” By working closely with these experts, we can ensure that our solutions are aligned with the latest advancements in healthcare and meet the evolving needs of our customers.
Geographically speaking, where are the “hot” international private medical insurance (iPMI) markets currently?
Opportunities in the global international private medical insurance market are diverse and can be found in regions experiencing economic growth, increased expat populations, and a rising awareness of the importance of health coverage. Some key areas include:
Middle East: Expanding expatriate communities in the Middle East, particularly in countries like the UAE and Saudi Arabia, create a demand for international health coverage. High-quality healthcare facilities in these regions also drive interest in comprehensive insurance plans.
Europe: Although a more mature market, Europe continues to evolve, especially with the movement of people within the EU. Markets that had once relied on local domestic insurers to provide extended cover for international, now recognise that in an ever-increasingly compliance-driven world, they need true IPMI coverage to ensure businesses can meet their duty of care to employees.
Asia-Pacific Region: With rapid economic development, countries in this region, such as China, India, and Southeast Asian nations, present significant opportunities. The growing middle class and increasing awareness of health insurance contribute to the market potential.
Looking at 2024, what do you have planned for the international private medical insurance (iPMI) market?
In 2024, our focus is on continuing to deliver innovative solutions and exceptional service to meet the evolving needs of our customers.
First and foremost, we are committed to expanding our global presence. We will continue to strategically enter new markets and strengthen our existing presence in key regions. This expansion will allow us to reach more individuals and businesses, providing them with access to high-quality healthcare coverage and support. Following our collaboration in Netherlands and Qatar, we will continue to deepen our broker and client relationships across Europe and the Middle East.
In line with our commitment to customer-centricity, we will be enhancing our digital capabilities. We understand the importance of convenience and accessibility in today's fast-paced world. Therefore, we will be investing in advanced technology solutions to create a seamless and user-friendly experience for our customers. This includes further development of our digital platforms, mobile applications, and online tools to make managing healthcare coverage and accessing care easier than ever before.
Additionally, we recognize the growing importance of mental health and well-being. In response, we will once again be looking to invest in our mental health offerings within our IPMI plans, leveraging all the benefits available from our in-house solutions from Optum. This includes providing even broader coverage for mental health services through our My Wellbeing tools with ongoing additional features such as Mindfulness Matters and Financial Wellbeing support and improving the navigation through the platform and app to streamline the user experience and support individuals in their mental wellbeing journeys.
Furthermore, we will continue to strengthen our work with healthcare providers and professionals worldwide, broadening and refining our network. Collaborating with trusted networks, TPAs and experts allows us to ensure that our customers have access to the highest quality of care wherever they are.
In summary, our plans for the international private medical insurance market in 2024 revolve around expansion, digital innovation, and mental health support. We are dedicated to delivering exceptional value and service to our customers, and we look forward to making a positive impact on the IPMI market in the coming year.
Since Covid-19, how has the international private medical insurance (iPMI) market changed?
The IPMI market has undergone significant changes since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. The crisis has accelerated a shift toward an increasing demand for home-based services and virtual assistance. Additionally, mental health challenges have become increasingly prevalent.
The widespread adoption of healthcare technology during the pandemic has taught us the importance of data-driven decision-making. To support our clients and members, we provided educational webinars, developed informative factsheets, and offered general assistance regarding Covid-19 treatment and coverage. These resources were designed to be easily replicated should another outbreak impact global populations in the future.
The pandemic has highlighted the need for flexibility and adaptability in the IPMI market. By embracing home-based services, virtual assistance, and prioritizing mental health support, we have been able to meet the changing needs of our customers during these challenging times. Moving forward, we remain committed to leveraging technology, data, and our clinical expertise to provide comprehensive and responsive coverage to our clients and members.
In a world where travel shut down for nearly two years, business travel and expat assignments have been slower to return to the pre-pandemic peaks, as companies were forced to enable staff to work from home, and we all overcame the need to always do business in person. As a result, we are seeing an increase of remote workers and more short-term overseas assignments. Both trends have caused insurers to rethink policy design and product offerings to meet the new demand.
When we look at the global iPMI market, where do you see the major opportunities?
There are several opportunities in the global iPMI market:
Technological Innovation: Leveraging data and technology in healthcare can enhance service delivery for international travellers. Integration of digital platforms, telemedicine, and health monitoring devices can improve access to care and empower individuals to manage their health proactively.
Wellness and Preventive Care: Capitalising on the growing interest in wellness and preventive healthcare, insurance plans that emphasize preventive services and wellness programs can attract health-conscious consumers. Offering services that empower individuals to be proactive with their healthcare, such as wellness apps and 24/7 access to employee assistance programs, can differentiate insurers in the market. At UnitedHealthcare Global we offer services that empower employees to be proactive with their healthcare, such as our wellness app, Optum My Wellbeing, Financial wellbeing tools and 24/7 access to our Employee Assistance Programme (EAP).
Understanding and strategically addressing these opportunities can help insurers navigate the evolving landscape of the global private medical insurance market. At UnitedHealthcare Global, we strive to stay responsive to market trends, customer needs, and regulatory changes.
What is the scope for global international private medical insurance?
The scope for IPMI is significant and continues to expand. As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, more individuals and businesses are seeking comprehensive health coverage that extends beyond their home country. The scope for global iPMI is driven by several factors:
- Expatriate and International Workforce: The global workforce is becoming more mobile, with companies sending employees to work in different countries. Expatriates and international workers require health coverage that can adapt to their changing locations and provide access to quality healthcare wherever they are.
- International Travel: The growth of international travel, both for business and leisure purposes, has created a demand for health insurance that covers medical emergencies and healthcare services while abroad. Travelers seek the assurance of comprehensive coverage that can address unexpected medical needs during their trips.
- Globalization of Healthcare: The globalization of healthcare has led to increased access to medical treatments and services in different countries. Individuals may choose to seek medical care abroad for various reasons, such as cost savings or specialized treatments. Global iPMI can provide coverage for these international healthcare services.
- Cross-Border Healthcare: With advancements in medical technology and the availability of specialised treatments in different countries, individuals may opt to receive healthcare services outside their home country. Global iPMI can facilitate access to these cross-border healthcare options.
- International Students: Students studying abroad often require health insurance that covers their medical needs while they are away from home. Global iPMI can provide comprehensive coverage for international students, ensuring they have access to healthcare services during their studies. The scope for global iPMI is not limited to any specific region or demographic. It encompasses individuals, families, and businesses across the globe who seek reliable and comprehensive health coverage that transcends borders. As the demand for global PMI continues to grow, insurers can innovate and tailor their offerings to meet the evolving needs of individuals and businesses.
How do you estimate the market size of the international private medical insurance (iPMI) market and what is it worth?
To answer this question, we must keep in mind that market sizes and valuations can vary over time and across different sources. According to a report by Allied Market Research, the global health insurance market size was valued at $1.9 trillion in 2020 and is projected to reach $4.1 trillion by 2028, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 9.7% from 2021 to 2028. This report covers the overall private medical insurance market, including both domestic and international segments. It's important to note that the iPMI market represents a subset of the broader private medical insurance market, focusing specifically on coverage that extends across borders. The exact size and worth of the IPMI market may vary and can be influenced by factors such as international travel trends, expatriate workforce growth, and global healthcare developments.