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Offering insurance people can use

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The Muang Thai Life Assurance building on Ratchadaphisek Road.

The Muang Thai Life Assurance building on Ratchadaphisek Road.

For Muang Thai Life Assurance (MTL), Health 5.0 is a new approach to health insurance that covers all generations and aims to drive inclusive growth for years to come.

The protracted pandemic made health a major concern for consumers, with health insurance receiving a lot of attention.

Mr Sara reiterated that the health insurance market in Thailand still has huge potential for growth.

Customers want health protection that meets their needs, which can vary because of gender, age, marital status, occupation and education, said Sara Lamsam, MTL’s managing director and chief executive.

“The world is changing rapidly. Consumers now pay more attention to health care, demanding coverage that meets the needs of their lifestyles,” he said.

“Insurance must provide a commitment to the needs of customers from the outside in, which forms the heart of our company. It has always been our focus, with a goal to make people smile.”

Diversified Protection

MTL launched a new product under its Health 5.0 strategy, which is designed for customers to personalize their coverage to meet their needs, regardless of background or lifestyle. Even patients with underlying medical conditions such as diabetes can access Health 5.0 coverage, said Mr Sara.

The insurance also covers parts of the Thai market traditionally ignored by insurers, offering protection to people up to 90 years old, compared with an age cut-off of 80 for other insurers.

MTL’s new offering also expands coverage for vision and teeth, which are increasingly important for customers, he said.

Thailand’s demographic profile is increasingly ageing, with people living longer. This has prompted the need to expand insurance coverage, said Mr Sara.

To make insurance products more accessible for everyone, the company focused on information and technology, offering the following services: MTL Click is an app that offers all of its services; MTL Health Buddy is a comprehensive health assistant for consumers to consult with specialist doctors about their health and make appointments for treatment; Muang Thai Smile Club is a center for activities with various benefits to cover every lifestyle; and MTL Fit app helps users to better understand their health conditions by connecting with a network of hospitals, comprehensive e-commerce alliances and startups.

Value for Money

MTL employs a fixed payment strategy, especially for “Elite Health Plus” and “D Health Plus”, which cover both room and treatment costs. Several foods, including cancer, heart disease, epidemics, smallpox, emerging diseases, common diseases and accidents are all covered.

Elite Health Plus provides coverage for room and treatment expenses of 20-100 million baht per year, while D Health Plus offers package coverage of 1-5 million baht per treatment.

Additional coverage includes health checks, dental work, eye care and maternity protection.

These are all health coverages demanded by customers, he said.

Mr Sara said MTL is also studying health insurance for certain groups with limitations, such as people with diabetes, offering them policies under specific conditions that use advanced technology.

“Diabetic patients with self-care discipline can live a long life, just like everyone else,” he said.

“MTL is evaluating this option in a sandbox and we expect the service can be provided in 1-2 years.

“We need to make the most of our data, artificial intelligence and technology.”

Short-term Outlook

The health insurance market in Thailand still has huge potential for growth. The number of policies compared with the Thai population is 38.4%, though in Taiwan the ratio is as high as 76%.

To capitalize on this growth potential, business patterns have to adjust to the changing environment and technological development to outline strategies for services consumers want, said Mr Sara.

MTL employs about 3,000 people and plans to better manage the headcount in the future to increase efficiency, he said.

This represents a challenge for both the company and the employees to develop efficiency to accommodate new perspectives, said Mr Sara.

To support this strategy, MTL has provided training for employees to both reskill and upskill them with new knowledge, while the company invests and introduces new products, he said.

Life Insurance Overview

The Thai Life Assurance Association said in the first half of 2022, total life insurance premiums tallied 289 billion baht, a decrease of 1.94% year-on-year. The drop was attributed to lower consumer purchasing power, fluctuating interest rates and the baht depreciation, said the association.

The total for premiums is expected to recover in the second half, with the group’s full-year growth estimates at 0-2.5% growth with total premiums of 612-629 billion baht.

New insurance premiums in the first half totaled 49.3 billion baht, an increase of 7.79%, while one-time premiums decreased 19.9% ​​to 30.4 billion.

People are becoming more aware of health care and health insurance as they learn to manage possible medical expenses that are likely to increase every year, said the association. Total premiums for pension life insurance (annuities) totaled 4.54 billion baht, representing growth of 6.98%, partly because Thailand is now an aging society, according to the group.

In the second half this year, the life insurance business still faces various challenges regarding Covid-19, while the rebirth of cyberwars and law enforcement of the Personal Data Protection Act creates new standards for health insurance contracts, said the association.

Consequently, life insurers have to develop more insurance products and services that meet the needs of customers, adjust strategies and operations in a timely manner, and ensure their financial status remains strong, according to the group.

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