As insurers see a need to create ongoing relationships with their customers; and employers understand the business advantages of offering health and wellbeing support to their staff, the number of added-value services is growing exponentially, from access to digital GPs and employee assistance programmes (EAPs) to specialist mental health support and long-term support for physical health. When choosing which ones to provide, insurers and employers are being urged to do their due diligence in differentiating these added-value benefits and deciphering which offer the best outcomes.
Not all added-value benefits are created equally, and with the huge increase in what’s available, employers and insurers can have a hard time in choosing which benefits to offer. Getting it wrong can be an expensive mistake to make.
Here are seven ways that insurers and employers can understand the value that added-value support can deliver when choosing which supplier to partner with:
- Client lists
Establishing who the supplier currently works with is important to ensure they understand a particular sector, market or demographic, and the health and wellbeing issues experienced by those in it. Look beyond the headline names listed on the supplier’s website and ask who they have worked with in the past 12 months.
- Customer surveys
Most added-value suppliers will endeavour to seek feedback from their clients as a whole via regular surveys or polls. This quantitative data is a key overall numerical assessment of client satisfaction and sentiment towards the supplier – which directly reflects on the insurer or employer that puts it in place.
- Client testimonials
Written testimonials offer a more nuanced and insightful gauge of a client’s and employee’s individual satisfaction. Given they are usually attributed to a key named individual, these add further weight and attest to a successful client-provider relationship.
- Case studies
The best way to assess value is to hear it from those who have used the services. Case studies are a powerful demonstration of the benefits received by the client and the impact the service has made to them.
The best outcomes are often delivered during long-term supplier-client relationships, and regular reviews of progress are intrinsic to future successes. Understanding how KPIs are being measured at an individual client level can help an insurer or employer better understand whether a supplier is accountable and what it can deliver for them.
- End-user outcomes
As well as evaluating overall success for the insurer or employer, better health outcomes and improvements for end-users can also be evaluated. In many cases this is done via before-and-after medical assessments, for example, GAD or PHQ scores for mental health issues.
- Issues and complaints
Whether or not they are justified, an added-value supplier dealing with multiple clients and numerous end-users will experience some issues and complaints. Allowing the supplier to discuss these pain points and how they were overcome is both an honest and open start to a new supplier-client relationship. A clear complaints procedure is a must.
- The support itself
While it is indeed important to provide comprehensive added-value support, quantity over quality is rarely the right choice for insurers or employers. Understanding what is available and how that dovetails with, but does not duplicate, existing support is important, as is the time-frame during which it is available, via which channels, and from which medical experts. Short-term support has its place, but fuller, holistic, long-term support must also be considered.
Gathering information prior to the selection process must not be a tick-box exercise: support needs to be comprehensive and the difference it makes needs to be evidenced.
As the choice of added-value health and wellbeing support gathers pace, and the depth of support available varies considerably, both the employers who offer it and the insurers who embed it need to fully understand what it is they are buying in to when it comes to choosing what to offer.
Never be afraid to ask difficult questions, as suppliers with a strong track record will ultimately be more likely to deliver that in the future.