Interview with Damien Payne from the 9th Annual Bancassurance Forum

Written by: Fleming. Team

FE: Can you share your experience about the most challenging project you've worked on so far?

In general, rolling this product out across 34 insurers in Europe and Russia in less than 4 years has been challenging. This is due to the cultural diversity across markets as well as the regulatory differences across the variety of markets in which we operate. We really pride ourselves on having a turnkey solution that is highly adaptable and given the results of the past 4 years we have proven that our team can rise to the challenge of such diversity. If I was to identify one particular project that stands out, however, it would be our launch this year with Friends Life UK (part of the Aviva Group) . This project involved an integrated approach, aligning the Best Doctors solution with the core products of Friends Life. The process took time and required significant input from all parties involved but the result made all the effort worthwhile. Friends Life launched the product in April and it is completely unique in the UK market, the reaction from advisors to the offering has been so strong that it is having a very positive impact on the overall Friends Life business. The icing on the cake came in October 2015 when Friends Life/Best Doctors jointly won the Cover Excellence Award for Most Innovative New Product in the UK for 2015. We are very proud of this achievement.

FE: In 2015, Best Doctors was recognized for the 5th time as one of the fastest growing private companies in the world by Inc magazine. Which company values lie behind the success?

Customer Centricity is a term that is repeated at every bancassurance conference that I have attended. I am certain it will continue to be repeated at conferences many times in the future also, for obvious reasons. Best Doctors is uniquely positioned to ensure that we are truly customer centric as we have an indepth understanding of the customer at point of claim, the point when they require our undivided attention and assistance. At Best Doctors our business activity has always centered around patients, helping individuals identify the right diagnosis, right treatment and ultimately the best care . Our medical teams, our expert doctors and case managers focus on the customer as a patient, a patient that requires help and compassion, not simply a claim that needs to be opened and closed. This is why we have a consistently high patient satisfaction rating of 97% +. This allows our insurance clients and ultimately the banks that distribute our insurance products to have absolute confidence that their customers are in the right hands . This patient focus has the affect that all employees at Best Doctors are highly passionate about what they do, this passion infects every part of our organization and it also ensures that, as an organization, we are very focused on what we need to do to succeed. So to summarise I would say that the key values are that we are a Patient driven organization operated by Passionate employees with a Clear focus.

FE: You have introduced Best Doctors insurance solutions to 17+ countries on both the European and Russian markets. Have you observed any interesting differences with regard to Bancassurance in these regions?

We do see differences in practices depending on the market. Practices vary and these are largely driven by the regulatory regime in the individual markets but in general we see a move by regulators to reduce the level of commission and put practices in place to protect the consumer from mis-selling of products that a customer does not understand, does not need and often does not even know about. In general though we see increased regulation in favour of the consumer as a huge opportunity for our international healthcare insurance as our products are highly rated and desired by consumers regardless of the market.

FE: Where do you see as yet not fully explored potential for European Bancassurance?

Digital innovation is an area that needs to be developed in order to create uniformity across the sales platform. There is a lot of talk of digital development in bancassurance but actual progress appears to be slow. Industries outside of bancassurance seem to be able to show a much greater degree of flexibility in implementing digital solutions and such developments can pose a threat to insurers and banks in respect of insurance sales, as new forms of insurance distribution emerge bypassing traditional channels. Banks have a huge advantage in terms of the customer data they possess and with real digital innovation banks could really capitalize on this customer data by offering tailored insurance solutions to suit their customers profile, lifestyle and spending habits. Banks are unique in terms of the level of customer data available to them and this combined with innovative digital sales solutions would be potent combination.

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