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Added-value services: bridging the awareness gap – Bryan

by: Steve Bryan, director of distribution and marketing at The Exeter
  • 17/05/2024
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Added-value services: bridging the awareness gap – Bryan
Added-value services have become a common feature of health and protection insurance policies over the past decade.

Today, policyholders can access a wide range of holistic services, from private GP helplines and physiotherapy to mental health support, helping them to manage their health and wellbeing and, with some policies, their families’ too. 

The Exeter’s added-value service offering, HealthWise, is a testament to the growing popularity of these benefits. Last year, we saw the largest annual increase in service usage among our members since the start of the pandemic. 

However, recent research from The Exeter suggests that a significant chunk of policyholders – 48% – remain either unaware of these services or are simply not using them, as said by 26% of people. As primary care services in the UK face significant challenges, including record waiting lists, we believe there is an important role added-value services can play to help alleviate pressures on the healthcare system. 

So, what steps can we take to better raise awareness of added-value services and encourage more policyholders to use these support systems? 

 

Building better awareness 

Policyholders will only start to recognise the value these additional benefits bring when they understand exactly what is available to them. For insurers and advisers alike, every interaction is an opportunity to discuss this.

Today’s health and protection insurance policies come with a whole host of different benefits, which can make it complex for advisers to navigate. One way they can enhance their advice conversations and help their clients understand what is available is by using product feature comparisons to demonstrate exactly what is covered by each service and the quality of support offered.

Education in the form of webinars and videos, such as those provided through The Exeter’s partnership with Square Health, can also help to build an understanding among advisers, so they can better explain the options available to their clients. 

Data has a role to play, too.

Usage statistics and case studies can be particularly helpful in showing the ‘real-world’ impact of added-value services, for example, but there is an onus on both providers and advisers to collaborate further. Providers must ensure they are making any tangible insights and data available to advisers, and where existing assets are not working, we must work together to identify what more we need to do to help build customer understanding. 

Raising awareness does not stop when a customer takes out a policy, either. Annual statements of benefits from insurers, and annual reviews from advisers, are key opportunities to again highlight the services on offer. 

 

Proactively using services 

Bridging the gap between awareness of added-value services and increasing usage is a broader challenge, but recent statistics from The Exeter’s app, HealthWise, provide cause for optimism. Our findings show a 131% increase in usage of our added-value services in 2023, indicating a rising demand for readily accessible health solutions with insurance customers. 

Clear and tailored communications from providers are needed to continue to show how services can benefit policyholders and, where applicable, their wider families. However, delving deeper into data and statistics can also help to further increase usage by customers. 

For example, The Exeter’s research also suggests that younger consumers – those aged 18-24 – have more awareness of added-value services and are most likely to use the benefits. Almost two-thirds – 64% – of policyholders in this age group are aware of added-value services, while 36% have used such benefits. This, however, declines as clients get older, with awareness falling for consumers after age 45 and just 21% of those aged 65 and over knowing about these services. 

The insights this data provides can be used to tailor advice conversations, such as offering clients aged over 45 a gentle reminder of the available benefits, especially as their health priorities change. For instance, HealthWise statistics show that services like remote GP appointments and physiotherapy treatment are commonly used by the 41-50-year-old group, offering a key touchpoint for advisers when looking to discuss added-value services. 

Added-value services are growing in popularity, with many policyholders today helping them to proactively manage health issues. But there is still a sizeable gap in those who know about or use these benefits.

By collaborating, communicating, and better leveraging the vast amount of data we have in the industry, we can help narrow this gap and demonstrate the powerful role added-value services can play even before the point of claim.

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