We’re being bombarded by digital innovation, 365 days a year. Following a spate of ‘must-have’ apps appearing for customers, it’s my view that Group Risk providers as a whole could still be missing one vital digital trick, says Steve Bridger of Aviva UK

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Digital is everything. The internet has changed the world, and there’s a world of online potential that we’re just starting to tap into for Group Risk customers everywhere.

The trend for monitoring wellness of every kind with a digital widget is worth over $4 billion…precisely because there is a market for it. People care about health; they love animated challenges; they relish opportunities to access instant, informative insights that can help them live life to the full.

Proof? A quick search on the App Store or Google Play finds over 100,000 health or fitness apps, and that’s without including fitness-tracking wearable tech. Of the dozen or so companies recognised as being ‘leaders’ in our industry, on the GRiD website, I can’t think of anyone who’s not created a customer-focused app in the last couple of years. My question then, is this: are any of us using digital to its full potential yet?

We’re interpreting historic data and recognising trends more accurately than ever before, so we should be getting it right by now. And inevitably, it’s true, with progress comes an element of controversy: a law firm in Canada is using a client’s Fitbit history in a personal injury claim.

But many of the employers I speak to see apps and information-hubs as a simply fantastic, efficient, effective way to help improve the health of their workforce – and support us, I’m sure, in using digital to also improve awareness about the fiscal value of wellbeing at work.

DIGITAL RELATIONSHIPS

We are starting to reflect this. We partnered with babylon, for example, because it was a better way to ensure employees, going through a Group Income Protection claim, have rapid access to GPs, consultants and their prescriptions: saving time, saving money – all round, for everyone. No fluffy features or zany graphics for the sake of it, just hard benefits that helped employees get medical attention faster: pure and simple. Video consultations instead of visiting a surgery? Click. Making an appointment in under a minute? Click. Symptom-checker, online? Click. Click. Click.

People do want digital relationships, that’s what they tell us anyway. Employees are digital-savvy enough to embrace change as it happens, too.

As a result, we’re all exploring digital options that could help improve clinical outcomes across the board in the Group Risk sector. But as well as providing services that help improve employees’ lives today, I’d like to see us all, as an industry, using the data we’re collecting as a two-way street – to find out exactly what employers want tomorrow.

Employees have been using smartphones for ages and have had email addresses for over a decade. They’ve all ‘switched on’ to digital, they’re all accustomed to filling in surveys and responding to online polls. So as well as launching customer-focused apps, we should be inviting them to share feedback about our digital propositions themselves more often. We’ve started doing this already, and it’s something we’re building on as I write. Why? Because it’s a good thing to invite their comments, particularly in an industry where success depends on people’s perceptions of tangible value.

If there’s one trick we’re missing in general, as an industry, it’s that we could be sharing more digital insights about the data we glean from each other and from each segment. We should be closing the digital gap, and giving more information back to the people whose lives we’re actually trying to improve.

For more information on our Group Protection products contact us on 0800 145 5684, hcgrss@aviva.co.uk or visit aviva.co.uk/healthcarezone.

Aviva