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In-depth - health & social care: How to help your clients with expert advice from experienced underwriters

Tom Earl

Insurers and brokers should work together to provide the best to health and social care providers, says Tom Earl

Understanding the market and the challenges faced by different industry segments means having the knowledge to truly understand an individual client’s needs. In the health and social care sectors, we’re presented with increasing uncertainties and a range of complex risks, which requires expertise in order to provide adequate coverage and focused risk management strategies.

Insurers have a role to play in providing that level of expertise. When insurers work together with brokers, clients and specialist partners, we can implement the necessary tools to improve standards and safeguarding.

Made up of public, private and charitable organisations, the health and social care sectors form the foundation on which our society is built. All these bodies must work together to collaborate in meeting the service user’s needs. Aviva estimates the size of open-market social care at £250m in gross written premium alone. We can all agree this is big business and an opportunity to tackle uncertainty for clients.

What are the challenges?
Organisations operating in the health and social care sectors are under pressure to reduce budgets. We’re all aware of the high turnover of employees in the health care sector, which may only increase with the unknown outcome of Brexit and the uncertainty of our future. Alongside this, organisations have an obligation to provide pricing visibility as well as adhering to new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) legislation and governance.

We also live in an ageing population. Together with a growing population and funding hitting a crisis point, the market eagerly awaits a long-overdue government green paper on future funding.

Finally, growing digitalisation, and the threat of damaging social media posts, which may not always be true, can have lasting impacts on a client’s reputation.

Insurers must recognise that every client is unique and look to work in partnership to provide the most appropriate combination of guidance, advice and/or solutions to strengthen and improve existing risk management procedures, supported by dedicated claims and risk management expertise.

What is the broker’s role?
Your understanding of the sector and what’s important to your client is key. It enables you
to put the right questions to your clients at the right time. Your diverse skills and industry insights can be used to add value in dealing with the wide-ranging risks that are presented across this macro environment.

From an insurance point of view, good management of your clients and their service users, as well as encouraging good communication with the families of your end users, is essential. If you have a good framework with well documented information, you can be well assured when it comes to defending claims.

Embracing technology
Digitalisation has meant macro systems and models in place have had to change to accommodate the variety of individual service user needs. Therefore, insurance programmes need to be tailored to provide cover for a wide range of activities.

Technology is key here in reducing costs, preventing accidents and providing a safer environment for staff and service users. Detection monitoring and the use of predictive analytics can assist in providing a safer, more caring environment. Alert systems today have been developed to use predictive analytics, monitoring the gait and movements of vulnerable people. This can prevent a fall happening in the first place. We need to work alongside these providers as the market develops to leverage technology and provide bespoke care programmes, and thereby minimise costs and maximise effectiveness.

In partnership, we can work to create a more caring society. With good communication, an open mind and innovation, brokers and insurers are ideally placed to assist in providing support in looking after vulnerable members of our society. Consider the opportunity to make a difference by providing a whole customer solution, which incorporates cover and expert risk management. Together, we can eliminate, mitigate and understand those risk exposures, ensuring long-term profits and a sustainable market that works for everyone. 

To find out more regarding our mid-market health & social care proposition please contact your sales manager or local underwriter.

Tom Earl, underwriting performance and strategy manager, Aviva

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