Digitalisation is changing the ecosystems
What are the biggest challenges that health insurance providers are facing today?
Catherine Loeffel: From my point of view, there are three driving forces that are currently preoccupying us the most. The first one is the cost development which is present in the entire healthcare system. The burden of premium payment is high, and therefore, cost pressure for health insurers is on the rise. On the other hand, technical progress contributes to high dynamics within our sector: Digitalisation has enabled networking between people, systems and offers much easier. New market participants are entering our market and bringing in new business models. Thirdly, high expectations of customers are a driver, too: today's customer are much better informed since they are linked via digital networks and willing to decide for themselves more and more. Accordingly, they are also demanding simple and understandable offers from insurance companies that enable them to manage their health as independently as possible. All these factors are forcing us to question our existing structures and to modernise ourselves.
Facing these challenges, to what extent is digitalisation an opportunity?
Catherine Loeffel: Digitalisation has a number of aspects. On the one hand, it improves the efficiency in your own company because you can support your processes electronically or even redeploy them into a digital environment. On the other hand, it also allows new business models to evolve because networking with other market players takes place easier and quicker. For us digitalisation offers an opportunity to integrate ecosystems anew in order to offer our customers a better experience. It enables us to design integrated solutions with different partners.
Our product KPTwin.easy can be as an example here: this model for basic health insurance combines services provided by the Post, the Zur Rose pharmacy and Medi24 providing a comfortable and affordable combination of telemedicine and medication delivery for the customer. There will be more and more such solutions in the future. It has become a necessity for us to offer interconnected solutions and thus create added value for the customer. Even if it means that insurance companies will turn gradually into suppliers. What is increasingly worrying us though, is the question what role we will be playing in the future in this new ecosystem.
How do insurance tech-companies drive this trend?
Catherine Loeffel: Insurance tech-companies are breaking up the current value chain: they are doing this either in the offering itself, e. g. by offering innovative insurance policies, or during the sale process, at the customer interface. In this way, more and more players from outside the industry will enter the market, revolutionizing insurance sales and convincing customers with simple and comprehensive solutions.
Another realistic scenario is that new player take over and centralise the existing administration processes. We need to closely monitor such developments in order not to miss the opportunity to join in. To this end, we are pursuing a dual strategy: We are optimising our own customer interface and preparing it for future networking opportunities with other players. At the same time, we are regularly checking new business models and trying out new things. Our innovation lab has made a substantial contribution in support of our efforts here.
New ways in Customer Engagement
You are saying that KPT is optimising the customer interface. To what extent are you pursuing new ways in the field of customer engagement?
Catherine Loeffel: We have broken the rigid corset of products and premium calculation. We want to create an overall online-shopping experience. Our customers should be able to receive advice and to take out an insurance policy from us just as easily as from a classic e-commerce seller. We recycle, so to speak, learned patterns when taking out insurance.
Another important aspect here is the device independence: more and more often, the decision-making process involves different devices. For example, I can look for information whilst sitting on the train with my mobile phone, but later I can take out an insurance policy on my PC. We want to support device-hopping seamlessy. At the same time, we have managed to create an integrated and interconnected solution which enables our own marketing to put processes and campaigns in place quickly and promptly. This means a huge added value for us as we will be gaining time and flexibility for winning over the market.
The premium calculator is a widely known tool in the health insurance sector: what challenges do users encounter when using the traditional premium calculator?
Roland Greber: Traditional premium calculators are often product-oriented rather than customer-oriented. People who are interested in buying an insurance policy must find out which products are meeting their needs in the best possible way. This can be time-consuming and forces customers to put themselves in the position of insurance providers since they have to get to know the company's specific viewpoint. Comparing offers of different health insurers can also get quite tiresome.
How does KPT resolve these problems?
Roland Greber: When designing the new premium calculator, KPT focused strictly on the customer’s point of view. In order to calculate the price, we are asking questions about different needs, and on this basis we'll suggest suitable products. In addition, we have integrated the use of the website with the premium calculator. While browsing on kpt.ch, suitable offers can be placed in the shopping basket. Before leaving the page or during your next visit you can view those saved offers, adjust them and make a purchase at this point.
High acceptance rate
What experiences have you gathered since relaunching kpt.ch?
Catherine Loeffel: Quite frankly, our biggest concern were our existing customers. We consider it a great success that, despite the high degree of novelty, we have only received a few negative feedbacks. As the numerous interactions with the website show, users seem to be able to orient themselves very well. Also nice to see for me was the internal effect we generated with the new website: the employees are feeling proud of what has been achieved. Due to the involvement of the employees at the customer front in the development of the new user guidance, our advisory competency has improved. We can now also relieve internal resources by reducing telephone enquiries and shifting them to the electronic channel.
What is your final vision of how prospective buyers/ customers should interact with KPT?
Catherine Loeffel: We seek to provide our customers with a completely integrated world of experience. Therefore, we want to review the customer portal as the next step. The customer should be able to log in wherever it is relevant for him/her. What we have in mind is a fusion between online and personal touchpoints. Of course, we are supporting self-service as much as possible but, whenever necessary, the customer can resort instantly to personal advice. In order to achieve this, we are analysing each touch point with the customer. We want to make the switching from channel to channel as seamless as possible. A 360-degree view of the customer will help us achieve that goal.
About the interviewees
As Head of Market Division and member of the Executive Board, Catherine Loeffel is responsible for the KPT’s market offer and the customer interface. As originally trained solo cellist she is always there whenever certain subjects need to be orchestrated anew and new directions need to be set. She likes situations in which things are at their breaking point and where there is a lot of space to move around for options. During her time at Swiss Post, she was in charge of a large project involving digital transformation, and was also responsible for the relaunch of post.ch. She is convinced that internal structures and external communication must fit together in order to create a value-added user experience for the customer.
Roland Greber has talent for music, too: instead of the classical world, however, as a double bass player he feels more connected to the new Ländler music. Together with his KPT team, he is in charge of the operation and further development of digital services in this market segment (internet and intranet presence, apps, the basic system, the quote system, etc.).
Unic developed a new website for KPT based on Sitecore 9. The result is a digital hub that combines needs, product information, individual premiums and insurance closure in a completely novel way.