Cigna in the region-Exploring the healthcare opportunity

The GCC healthcare industry has witnessed a significant rise in growth opportunities, especially as governments across the region have highlighted healthcare as a key focus area for the coming years. The UAE alone will be one of the largest insurance markets in the region, with a market size expanding to AED71.5 billion in 2020.

With the positive trends in this space, Cigna has set out on a journey to continuously enhance our capabilities as a health and well-being partner of choice for clients and customers across the region.

MediWorld ME has talked to Art Cozad, CEO of Cigna Insurance Middle East to find out more about their growing presence in healthcare scene in the region. According to the spokesperson, Cigna has come a long way since the acquisition of the ZIME general insurer license in June 2017. Today, the company is uniquely positioned as a premier provider of health and well-being products and services. Its global expertise and wide range of specialized healthcare benefits and wellness programs enable to go deeper in the region.
Following the acquisition, the company’s first-ever solution for the region’s Individual Private Medical Insurance (IPMI) segment in Dubai was launched. Cigna HealthguardSM addresses market needs, many of which are underscored by its 2017 360o Well- being Survey. This includes the growing gap in workplace health insurance benefits, with 45 percent of UAE respondents saying they pay ‘out of pocket’ for their medical expenses. The survey also reveals that UAE residents worry about financing their family’s health needs, with close to 50 per cent concerned they are unable to pay for their family’ s or own medical expenses.

Growth prospects

“Cigna continues to accelerate towards its target of becoming the first choice for clients and customers for health and well-being solutions by the year 2022. Some ambitious year-on-year targets – to secure double-digit revenue growth – are expected to help drive continued business expansion.,”Mr. Cozad remarks.

In fact, Cigna inaugurated its new office in the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) in March 2018, which will serve as the headquarters for its MENA operations. The new office is a symbol of Cigna’s commitment to the Middle East as they hire and develop more local talent and create long-term value for its partners and customers. As a result, its regional workforce has more than doubled in the past year to over 200 highly qualified professionals.

Transforming healthcare

The region’s healthcare sector is witnessing a dynamic change, with factors such as preventive care, a rise in specialist medical services, and integrated healthcare solutions paving the way for maturity in the sector. Notably, the role of technology can help people to manage wellness more proactively, and shift the dialogue from treatment to prevention.

This is reinforced by the findings of the company’s 360o Well-Being Survey, which indicates that 57 percent of UAE respondents would be willing to share health data with insurance companies and 34 per cent are open to using a health app to measure their health and fitness goals. E-checkups are also on the rise with 15 per cent of UAE respondents having already done remote check-ups with a doctor, and 25 per cent considering to do it next year.
“With over 200 per cent smartphone penetration in the UAE and close to 100 per cent in the rest of the region, we see digital as an enabler in enhancing the customer journey and bringing our customers closer to better health outcomes,” the CEO of Cigna Insurance Middle East explains.

“With this in mind, we recently launched the Cigna Wellbeing AppTM for the Middle East region, which features tools and resources designed to help customers with all their wellness needs. With an extensive health library, tracking dashboard, and general health assessments, the app creates personalized programs that provide a holistic view of the user’s health. Additionally, the app has a unique global telehealth service, which connects users with a doctor or specialist via phone or video, allowing them to get a first or second opinion for non- emergency conditions, within the comfort of their homes.”

Bringing well-being to the community

With commitment to health and well-being, the company has also introduced a healthy family fun concept in Dubai this year, catering to all people of all ages. The Cigna Park Run will kick off a series of year- long fitness events that are designed to encourage the community to put their health first, and spend a fun day out in their neighborhood parks. The first Cigna Park Run is set to take place on May 5, at Zabeel Park in Dubai.
In a consumer-driven world where people are growing accustomed to interacting with brands on their devices at any given time, it is important for medical insurers to adapt to the trend. Consumers expect the same level of information, detail and options that they have when it comes to making health decisions, which calls for greater data transparency and access. While there have been some great strides toward empowering individuals with healthcare players working to improve the patient experience, we have yet to see a greater focus from the healthcare industry to wholly adapt to the needs of the consumer.