Ping An Health is a joint venture between Ping An and global financial services company, Discovery, that specialises in health, life, motor and investments across 30 markets around the world.

It has wholly owned subsidiaries in the UK, South Africa and the US, operating under different names, with Vitality being the global brand.

Discovery owns 25% of Ping An Health, a health insurance company specialising in high end, high deductible, individual indemnity and corporate insurance.

Leveraging data networks

In China – unlike the UK, north America and other markets – data is especially difficult to get hold of. Harder still, is the acquisition of high quality information.

Ping An Health has been very particular about the data it collects and worked hard at making it simple for people to enrol in that process.

The underwriting process takes less than two minutes, but even if you have severely compromised health, it won’t take longer than half an hour.

It uses a multi-phased approach and everything is done online with interfaces that identify those very high risk individuals for the policy they are purchasing.

There’s more to it than medical research, including sophisticated algorithms and models. The company is looking at how to make the process simpler by connecting to third parties, or by connecting to a customer’s network within the group, to leverage information and validate what has been provided by the customer. This is less about catching out the customer as making it a more seamless process for them, which can greatly improve engagement.

It’s worth noting that about 95% of the Ping An Health business is conducted online, though that figure is lower for corporate clients. However, SMEs are increasingly seen as a group that wants a much less nuanced, more homogeneous offering. The underwriting for this remains complex, but it reduces claims interactions with the client to below 50% of cases.

Health checkup

Ping An Health is connected into a number of different partners to supplement the information held with data from devices or other third parties.

Data collection has been greatly improved through the customer submitting a health checkup report. The information is captured through optical character recognition (OCR).

The report, along with other data, is used to provide customers without an insurance product a health score, which assesses their health risk based on information from their own app and devices.

The health score has engaged customers and created value at various levels of the value chain, by creating an opportunity to recommend a product that can be underwritten.

This point is important. Being able to make use of innovative, previously unavailable information in real time and of consistent quality allows insurers to underwrite risks where it was not previously possible.

This has proved to be a successful way of using online platforms to create a pool of users that can be converted into insurance customers.

Nevertheless data privacy is key if customers are to remain happy to share their data with the insurer.

Winners all round

It isn’t only Ping An Health that sees the benefit from accessing device data and customer feedback. It also makes sense to customers.

Customers are happy to engage if they understand what they need to do and why they are doing it. This is why it has been critical to simplify the underwriting process. Consumers carry digital information on them all the time through the tech they have, and by extension that data is also more readily available to insurers.

Making the insurance process more transparent and customer friendly, helps the insurer integrate the additional information they collect, and also means they inherently become more customer centric in the process.