Insurance Companies Use Emerging Technologies & Business Models to Shake Up Competition

Led by insurtech disruptors, novel business models are causing disintermediation in the insurance industry and altering power dynamics. The rise of technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), and smart devices is placing the spotlight on flexible services based on usage-based insurance, on-demand insurance and Prevention-as-a-Service models, which are redefining the role of insurance in people’s lives. These models will especially appeal to Millennials and Generation Z, the newest buying groups.

Lines of business such as liabilityproperty, and casualty will especially gain from models such as Prevention-as-a-Service,” said Lauren Martin-Taylor, Visionary Innovation Principal Consultant at Frost & Sullivan. “Even though insurtechs and start-ups are leading in addressing shifts in social, mobility, and technology trends by pioneering innovative business models, traditional insurers often back them or play an integral role.”

Frost & Sullivan’s recent analysis, The Future of Insurance, analyzes emerging insurable markets and business models, evolution in operations and the value chain, as well as disruptors and opportunities in various lines of insurance. It also covers technologies such as AI, augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR), blockchainwearablesimplantsself-healing materials, and automation. An overview of the trends and challenges in each market is presented along with industry best practices, notable activity, and case studies.

Forward-thinking insurers will look to realign their business strategies to tap the growth opportunities presented by:

  • Medical advances, wearables, and growth of the elderly population.
  • Rise in urban population density, particularly in Asia and Africa.
  • The largely untapped low-income demographic in developed countries, which holds huge potential for microinsurance and automation advances.
  • Biological augmentation technologies, which can transform the markets for life insurance and reinsurers.
  • High levels of digitization, increasing data breaches, and cyber threats.

“The auto insurance industry will be one of the most affected by the rising adoption of advanced technologies, as connected and autonomous vehicles will generate real-time data and improve underwriting accuracy,” noted Taylor. “In due course, the focus will shift from insuring drivers to insuring the vehicle, systems, and technology.”

The Future of Insurance is part of Frost & Sullivan’s global Visionary Innovation (Mega Trends) Growth Partnership Service program.

About Frost & Sullivan

For over five decades, Frost & Sullivan has become world-renowned for its role in helping investors, corporate leaders and governments navigate economic changes and identify disruptive technologies, Mega Trends, new business models and companies to action, resulting in a continuous flow of growth opportunities to drive future success

Canada budget to include limited coverage for prescription drugs – sources

OTTAWA/TORONTO (Reuters) – Canada’s Liberal government will propose a limited expansion to the country’s universal healthcare system in the spring budget to cover part of the cost of prescription drugs, two sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

The modest broadening of the healthcare program is set to become one of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s key campaign promises ahead of the October election, which is shaping up to be a close fight.

The government would not commit to meeting 100 percent of the cost of prescription drugs for those who have no insurance through their workplace, the sources said. That suggests the government is leaning toward a narrower, more insurance industry-friendly model of pharmacare, as it is called, than that recommended by a government health committee last year.

A spokesman for Finance Minister Bill Morneau declined to comment.

Officials have yet to decide how much detail to provide about the pharmacare system in the budget, which is expected in the week of March 18, the sources said. They may release a general commitment to boost coverage and leave the specifics for the campaign, they added.

But new information on pharmacare’s inclusion in the spring budget and its limited scope gives a first glimpse of the government’s blueprint for what has been called the “unfinished business” of Canada’s publicly funded healthcare system, called medicare.

The sources, who spoke in recent days, requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Canada’s health system covers care provided in hospitals and doctors’ offices, but prescription medication remains largely the purview of private insurance, often offered through employers, and a patchwork of public plans geared primarily toward the old and the very poor.

Opinion polls consistently show strong popularity for Canada’s public healthcare system.

There have been calls for Canada to extend medicare to include prescription drugs since medicare came into existence in the late 1960s, and multiple studies have recommended its inclusion.

Surveys have found 20 percent of Canadians are either uninsured for prescription drugs or under-insured, and one in 10 Canadians goes without prescription medications because of an inability to afford them, according to the standing committee on health’s pharmacare report released in April 2018.

Manulife Financial Corp, Sun Life Financial Inc and Great West LifeCo are among the major insurers in Canada.

FILLING IN GAPS

The Liberal-dominated government health committee strongly recommended Canada adopt a universal, national pharmacare program that covers drug expenditures for all Canadians for a wide range of drugs.

That would not only improve equity and access, advocates said, but lower drug costs because there would only be one buyer negotiating with pharmaceutical companies.

The government’s budget watchdog estimated that would cost about C$20.4 billion ($15.5 billion) a year – a hefty price tag for the government, but offering an overall saving of C$4.2 billion compared with the total now spent on prescription drugs.

What the government is likely to include in its budget is a much more targeted plan aimed at filling the gaps in coverage not already filled by private insurance or existing public plans, the sources said.

That matches with the government’s finance committee recommendation late last year, which Morneau, himself a former benefits industry executive, has said he would prefer.

It is also in line with what the insurance industry has been asking for. Standing to lose business to a universal government plan, the insurers have argued that most Canadians have good private coverage and that pharmacare changes need only affect a small uninsured minority.

But the Liberals will likely face criticism from policy advocates and left-leaning political opponents for not pursuing a more comprehensive plan. Without a universal system overhaul, advocates argue, people will continue to slip through costly cracks in the coverage system.

An advisory council appointed to study the implementation of pharmacare is expected to come out with recommendations this spring.

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CSU, GSA to propose insurance plan

The excerpreted article was written By Mina Mazumder

The university’s plan for international students expires in the spring

The Dean of Students Office is renegotiating the university’s health insurance plan for international students, according to John Hutton, finance coordinator for the Concordia Student Union (CSU). The students’ existing health coverage plan expires this spring, according to Fiona Downey, Concordia’s interim spokesperson.

Currently, Concordia has a separate health plan for international students. This contract is managed by Andrew Woodall, the Dean of Students, and Blue Cross, the private health insurance company that covers all international students.

The health insurance plan for undergraduate Canadian students is managed by the CSU and Studentcare/Alliance pour la Santé étudiante au québec (ASEQ), the largest collective insurance plan administrator for student health and dental care in Canada.

For graduate Canadian students, it is managed by the Graduate Student Association (GSA) and Studentcare/ASEQ, according to Hutton.

“Concordia international students currently pay for the single most expensive international student health plan in the country,”said Hutton. He speculated that the high expenses are due to the fact that there isn’t much competition between different health premiums in Quebec. Hutton added the university was more focused on simply providing a healthcare insurance plan for international students, than it was on making it affordable.

According to Hutton, the contract is run on a multi-year basis, usually three years but sometimes it can be extended for an additional year. The tabled three-year contract’s rate is being renegotiated between the Dean of Students and Blue Cross, according to Hutton.

“They are not getting the best health insurance plan in Canada at Concordia,” Hutton said, adding that the CSU received complaints from international students related to the co-payment for medications, lack of access to certain services like hormone therapy, and lack of dental coverage.

Tallie Segel, a second-year PhD student in social and cultural analysis at Concordia, is an international student from the United States. “I would love to have dental insurance and vision coverage,” said Segel. “I have a really strong prescription that changes often. Especially with student life, the type of work that I do, it causes a lot of eye strain and I am worried about my eyes all the time.”
Segel said the administration never told her how her insurance worked in terms of what is covered and what is not. “I don’t have a clear understanding here how the plan works and what is covered,” she said.

Segel added that the process for prescription reimbursement with Blue Cross is a bit of a hassle, and therefore, she does not make the effort to have it refunded, especially since her monthly prescription is inexpensive. Last fall, Segel paid almost $1,200 for her health insurance plan as part of her tuition fees.

According to Amir Molaei, the president of the GSA, the cost of the insurance for international students varies based on their status whether they are single, married or have a family. Molaei said that from 2015 to 2018, there was a 17 per cent increase for the single student plan and a 32 per cent increase for the couples and families plans. He added that this had affected a large number of graduate students.

Molaei explained that since some fees are not covered, such as dental insurance, many international students prefer to go back to their home country for the treatment they are unable to receive in Canada.

Molaei said he had some issues accessing Concordia’s Health Services. “I asked the receptionist that I want to have a [general] check-up,” he said. “They told me that if there is no problem with you, we wouldn’t refer you for the check up.” When Molaei went back home for the holidays, he visited his doctor and found that he had a deficiency in certain vitamins.

Hutton said the CSU and the GSA are presently preparing a pitch for the administration asking to put student associations in charge of the insurance plan for international students. “We would have a more transparent plan that would have more information easily available to students,” Hutton said. “We would be both able to negotiate a better deal in terms of lower premiums, more coverage, and have more incentive to do so.”

Molaei and Hutton said the GSA and the CSU will be meeting Woodall on Feb. 1 to discuss their proposal to manage the international students’ health plan. Although Downey did not confirm who was meeting with Woodall and Kelly Collins, the manager of the International Students Office, she did confirm they were meeting with student groups this week to start a consultation process.  The aim will be “to gather information about what’s needed in a new health plan and what options exist going forward,” said Downey.

Both the union and the association have already reached out to many insurance plan providers to seek additional advice concerning this proposal. “As the current international student insurance plan is with the administration of the university, student organizations don’t have control over it and we hope to be able to take the control over the international students insurance in the near future,” Molaei said.

Source: theconcordian

Great-West Lifeco recognized as a leader in carbon and climate risk management by CDP

Great-West Lifeco Inc. today announced that it has earned an A- (leadership) rating on CDP’s 2018 Climate Change Questionnaire, which identifies the global leaders in the management of carbon, climate change risks, and low carbon opportunities. Great-West Lifeco once again achieved the highest rating among Canadian insurance companies and was among the top seven Canadian companies.

“This achievement reflects our commitment to reporting high-quality greenhouse gas emissions data and reducing our global impact across global operations,” said Paul Mahon, President and Chief Executive Officer, Great-West Lifeco. “We’re committed to managing our environmental footprint for stronger, healthier communities across Canada.”

Throughout the reporting year, Great-West Lifeco property and asset management teams worked collaboratively toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions by implementing realistic and economically feasible projects, such as building equipment retrofits, ongoing commissioning projects, and other operational enhancements and behavioural changes.

CDP, formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project, is a global disclosure system for investors, businesses and governments to manage their environmental impacts. More than 650 investors with US$87 trillion in assets request information on climate change, water or forests through CDP. Reporting companies now represent more than 50 per cent of global market capitalization.

To view the full list of CDP scores, visit CDP.net.

About Great-West Lifeco Inc.
Great-West Lifeco is an international financial services holding company with interests in life insurance, health insurance, retirement and investment services, asset management and reinsurance businesses. Great-West Lifeco has operations in Canada, the United States and Europe through Great-West Life, London Life, Canada Life, Irish Life, Great-West Financial and Putnam Investments. Great-West Lifeco and its companies have over $1.4 trillion in consolidated assets under administration as at September 30, 2018 and are members of the Power Financial Corporation group of companies. Great-West Lifeco trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) under the ticker symbol GWO. To learn more, visit greatwestlifeco.com.

All figures are expressed in Canadian dollars, except as noted.

SOURCE Great-West Lifeco Inc.

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