Agree with the term or not, “added value benefits” have become a core feature of protection plans over the last couple of years with many insurers offering a wide range of services that complement the core cover being provided. Traditionally such services were aimed at helping consumers manage an illness or injury, however in recent times the focus has started to shift towards services that can help improve health and prevent such issues. AIG recently announced their new Smart Health service broadening the benefits offered to clients, but how does it stack up when compared to other insurer offerings?
The Smart Health service is billed as a virtual care service which is provided in partnership with Teladoc Health. It offers a range of services via a web portal or app (through Apple App Store and Google Play) designed to reduce the risk of poor health and combat the effects of injury or illness.
It has been made available to all existing and new AIG customers including immediate family members such as the spouse/partner and children of the life assured (up to the age of 21). It is also available to clients across all lines of business including personal protection, business protection and group risk.
Smart Health offers six services which can all be managed end to end via the app or web portal. The services are:
Expert Case Management (i.e. Second Medical Opinion)
Mental Health Support
Perhaps the strongest point about the proposition is that all the services are interlinked and consumers can be referred from one service to another without any intervention from AIG. Whilst other insurers offer such services individually, these are often not as joined up and come from different service providers.
GP consultation services are not new to protection policies however the Smart Health offering from AIG provides a number of nice features. As the service can be accessed via the web portal or app, consultations can be booked at any time 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year.
There is a limit of 30 minutes for each consultation which some other insurers do not have, however no limit is placed on the number of consultations which can take place.
After a consultation, a summary of the discussions and any recommendations made by the GP will be uploaded to the app and the client will be asked for permission to share the findings with their normal GP. As with all the services provided within Smart Health the GP consultation service is available to the children of the life assured, however any children under the age of 18 must have their parent or guardian present during the consultation.
Expert Case Management (i.e. second medical opinion)
Second medical opinion services have been offered by AIG for a number of years and this has now been incorporated into the Smart Health proposition allowing clients to book appointments via the web portal, app or telephone. Once an appointment has been booked the client will be allocated with a case manager who will be a GP that can walk them through the process, obtain any information that may be required in advance of the consultation and agree who will receive the report post-consultation in order to discuss and explain the ramifications of the results and suggest any other services available through Smart Health which could help the client.
Mental Health Support
Mental health is a subject that has been much documented in the protection industry in recent times and counselling services are thankfully now provided by most insurers in the market. The Smart Health service provides support for a wide range of mental health issues and conditions and can refer clients to a number of different therapies. Clients using the service will have a short consultation with a GP to discuss their concerns after which they will be referred to and contacted by the most appropriate mental health professional for their particular needs to arrange the relevant therapy and sessions.
Helping a client to understand the current state of their health can be a great trigger to encouraging them to lead a healthier life. Across the market there are a number of insurers that offer health checks through a variety of different methods. This is something that Vitality have successfully encouraged for a number of years, however in recent times insurers such as AEGON, LV= and now AIG have added to their plans.
The health checks provided by AIG can be completed via a questionnaire within the web portal and capture details of the client’s general health and lifestyle in order to provide a report that can help the client understand how they can improve or optimise their health which, with permission, can be shared with their GP. A particularly nice feature is that the service can suggest actions and refer the client to other services within Smart Health which could help them, such as the nutrition support. Another excellent feature is that clients can complete the health checks over a period of time and compare their results to previous checks to see where improvements have been made.
The nutritional support from AIG provides the client with access to a trained nutritionist with at least three years post qualification experience, who is registered with an independent professional body such as the British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine. The service is designed to help clients with healthy eating habits regardless of the reason. Like the health checks the client is able to complete a questionnaire via the web portal, which will ask questions about their current nutrition and dietary habits as well as their goals.
NB: Guardian’s nutritional support is only available at point of claim whereas all other insurers offer the service at any point during the term of the plan.
Based on the client’s responses the nutritionist will design a personalised meal plan including menus to meet the client’s needs. This can also be discussed with a nutritionist by either phone or video conference.
The fitness programmes offered via Smart Health go hand-in-hand with the nutritional support. Clients can request a fitness programme by completing a questionnaire covering their height, weight, lifestyle and goals in order to be provided with a personalised get fit plan. This can be completed over a four or eight-week period and includes weekly workout routines, stretching exercises and meal plans and menus produced by a combination of sport coaches, nutritionists and GPs.
Helping clients take better decisions with regard to their health and providing support when this fails them is becoming a core component of many protection plans. The industry as a whole have made huge strides in this area and increasingly such services are becoming as big a selling point as the core cover being provided. Many insurers are guilty of providing such benefits but not doing enough to highlight how they can be accessed or even that they are available. By adding details of the service to their illustrations, AIG are clearly taking steps to make Smart Health more visible.
If support is desired to help maintain or improve both mental and physical wellbeing then AIG’s Smart Health is a compelling proposition. Individually the services provided are not new to protection plans with a number of insurers offering such benefits and, in some cases, a wider range of services. What is particularly impressive is the way they have been brought together via a single web portal/app and how the client can be referred from one service to another without the requirement to contact AIG.