AFG Venture Group Dispatches

Corporate advisory and consultancy in Australia, South East Asia and India.

Service Delivery Innovation Key to Meeting Private Health Insurance Customer Demand

Rhod McKensey
Chief Marketing and Business Development Officer, nib

The rapid adoption of new technology is changing the way we interact with our customers at nib health funds limited (nib). As customers move further away from traditional service models, we are continuing to invest in innovative and more engaging technology-based service channels that allow us to meet the change in consumer needs.

Central to the evolution of our service delivery has been the expansion of our website – nib.com.au – which is steadily becoming the preferred customer interaction point for sales, service and claiming. Improvements to the site’s service availability, functionality and accessibility have driven its success and appeal with consumers, as highlighted by

  • 1.6 million unique visitors in FY10; an increase of 65% on financial year 2009
  • Around 52% of all nib policyholders are now registered for online services
  • An 8% increase in website transactions in FY10 to more than 120,000; and
  • The website accounting for 33% of all new nib sales in FY10.

More recently we are seeing a step-change in the use of smartphones and how customers and their service providers interact. With the demand for “on the go” services continuing to increase, in June 2010 nib became Australia’s first private health insurer to launch a smartphone “app”. The app allows customers to get a quote, make a claim as well as view and update policy details and find the nearest nib Retail Centre, Eye Care Centre or Dental Care Centre.

In February this year, more than 11,000 downloads of the nib app were recorded, demonstrating the increasing demand for such mobile services. We are already investigating how to expand our service availability through this mobile technology and aim to roll out additional features later this year.

Increasing service accessibility and convenience for customers was also a key consideration which led to the development of another industry first for nib, a Self Service Kiosk. Set to be launched in April 2011, the kiosk is similar to a check in terminal at an airport and will allow new and existing customers to find out more about nib, make a claim or get a quote. The first kiosk will be opened at our George Street Retail Centre and we will look to roll out the kiosks into other key customer traffic areas such as universities or shopping centres later in the year.

The increased adoption of web-based technology as a service interaction platform provides an opportunity for businesses to provide additional resources for their customers. nib is doing just this through the development of whitecoat.com.au. This website provides information that will help people across Australia to find and compare health practitioners in their local area, including dentists, physiotherapists, chiropractors, podiatrists and osteopaths.

Set to launch in June 2011, this unique consumer comparison site will display information on more than 46,000 providers across Australia including contact details, services offered and opening hours. A service charge score, likelihood to recommend score and individual customer comments will also be available for providers where data is available. This data will be developed through nib customer surveys following the completion of a claim.

The evolution of nib’s communication and interaction platforms will continue as our customers embrace new technologies and the benefits they provide. We are committed to ongoing innovation and flexibility in the delivery of services to our customers to ensure that they fully benefit from their private health insurance provider.

About the Author

Rhod McKensey is the Chief Marketing and Business Development Officer at nib. Prior to his executive appointment in 2008, Mr McKensey was nib’s Business Intelligence Manager and Invent Manager, driving strategic and innovation projects.

Prior to joining nib, Rhod spent five years as a Senior Project Manager for McKinsey & Company.

About nib health funds

As one of Australia’s fastest growing health funds, nib provides affordable health cover to more than 800,000 people nationwide. Established in 1952, nib has experienced significant national market growth since 2002.

In 2007, nib became the first Australian health fund to demutualise and list on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX). This direction, and change in the fundamental corporate structure, best positions nib to meet its aspirations of becoming a truly national business that offers innovative products and services, and greater value for our customers.