Vanja Hrovat: With insurance, you can avoid waiting times
21 October 2020
President of the Management Board at Generali Slovenia, Vanja Hrovat in an interview for VIVA Magazine talks about a popular insurance product Specialists with Assistance, shares her vision of the future of the industry and offers valuable insights into other business-related topics.
Interest in the supplementary Specialists with Assistance health insurance is also steadily growing among companies, says Vanja Hrovat, President of the Management Board of Generali Insurance. This insurance provides, among other things, quick access to specialists, physiotherapy and surgery.
At Generali, we have a clear mission - to stand by our policyholders as a lifetime partner. Therefore, we also see our role in informing and educating people, especially about a healthy lifestyle.
The SARS-CoV-2 virus and the disease it causes have made it even more difficult to access doctors and specialists. Your insurance company successfully identified a problem in this area before the virus appeared. How have you adapted to this and how are you helping to shorten waiting times?
Before answering your question, I would like to thank all the doctors and health professionals who cared for the sick in the emergency room during the pandemic. In gratitude, we at Generali have set up a special fund for them, for all former employees in retirement homes, and for pharmacists and civil protection workers, from which they can receive financial assistance if they become ill with coronavirus.
Of course, we also responded quickly to the changing situation by adjusting our services, as we wanted to offer the best support and security to our policyholders. We have developed quite a few new products to cover the new coronavirus infection. With digitisation, we have made it easier to communicate and do business with the insurance company. Among other things, we offer online insurance to our clients, including life insurance, easy online payment of bills and many other services that simplify business.
The possibility of a video consultation with a doctor, which we provide as part of the supplementary Specialists with Assistance health insurance, proved to be a very welcome solution.
However, even before the crisis, long waiting periods led to an increase in the demand for supplementary insurance, such as Specialists with Assistance insurance, right?
It is true. With this insurance, we provide quick access to specialists, physiotherapy and surgery, which, in the event of illness or accident, enables the insured person to get a quick diagnosis and start treatment. The insurance also includes assistance services and the organisation of services through the Health Assistance Centre. Assistance specialists also offer new, modern cover, which additionally enables insured persons to receive comprehensive medical care and treatment in case of difficult life events. These involve quick psychological help, preparation of a treatment plan after the injury, obtaining a second doctor's opinion (also for family members of the insured), professional consultation with a doctor by phone and cover of medicines during the specialist treatment. Insured persons with a larger cover also have access to physiotherapy services, medicines and surgical interventions.
However, I would like to point out that our insurance company is part of the Generali Group, which operates in the global market, so we know many good practices in the development of health insurance and services. In Slovenia, we will continue to develop complementary health insurance, of course at the private level, which does not conflict with the public system.
How many people have already insured themselves in case they would need a quick check-up with a specialist and would wait too long through compulsory and complementary insurance?
At Generali, we have approximately 40,000 insured persons who have one of our supplementary health insurance policies. Of these, more than 23,000 have the Specialists with Assistance cover. With our insurance, they will avoid long waiting periods, as we provide policyholders with high-quality and fast healthcare services from private contractors. With a quick diagnosis and appropriate treatment, the insured protects his / her social and financial security and the safety of his / her family or loved ones.
However, we noticed that companies are also increasingly interested in this type of insurance for their employees. Increasingly, they are facing longer absences due to accidents or illnesses resulting from longer waiting times in the public health system. With the collective version of the Specialists with Assistance cover, the company provides their employees with a faster path to specialist’s examinations and diagnostic tests, a faster path to diagnosis and, consequently, a faster start of treatment. This means a faster return to work, shortening the consequences for the employee's health and shorter sick leave.
How many medical examinations in this way were performed last year for your policyholders?
In 2019, we organised and approved more than 4,500 specialist examinations in the private health care system. Most cases are due to orthopaedic problems, which are also associated with long waiting times in the public health system. There are also many cases from the fields of dermatology and cardiology. From the Specialists with Assistance cover, the most commonly approved services include for example MRI, ultrasound, X-ray, which enables our policyholders to get a diagnosis quickly and start appropriate treatment and return to work. However, we are extremely proud and happy that the policyholders are satisfied with our work and that they have rated our services with the highest marks.
What is the cost of such insurance per month?
I would like to emphasise that we offer both individual and collective insurance. There are three available packages to select from, with sums insured up to two thousand, three thousand and up to ten thousand euros. However, the price of insurance depends on the age of the insured. As an example, a 35-year-old individual would pay € 7.56 for a small package and € 13.99 for a large one.
What do you expect in this field for the future?
We will continue to develop health insurance products that policyholders need. We see collective forms of insurance as very interesting, especially for companies. In the future, we plan to introduce new products that will enable faster and better access to health services and remote health care. We plan to upgrade assistance services and digital solutions that will facilitate communication between health care providers and policyholders.
Where else can you see possibilities for insurance companies to help improve the healthcare situation?
Too often we emphasise that in order to improve the health situation, it is also important to take care of a healthy lifestyle and make the population aware that they should take care of their health and take timely preventive measures to maintain their health and thus prevent diseases. At Generali, we have a clear mission - to stand by our policyholders as a lifetime partner. Therefore, we also see our role in informing and educating people, especially about a healthy lifestyle. This is one of the reasons why we have developed the initiative "The best insurance is your behaviour", in the framework of which we prevent unpleasant events and accidents in life with professional advice and raising awareness. The initiative was well received, and the response of users to the presented content, online events and lectures, webinars and tips confirms that such initiatives are the right thing to do.
Personally, I think that a company must first live its mission inwards. Therefore, we are very active in supporting the healthy lifestyle of employees, we have developed a number of internal projects to encourage employees to live a healthy life, both during working hours and outside it. Employees are connected in a sports association, they participate in sports events, we deliver fresh fruit to the offices, we perform short daily exercises, education on diseases and prevention, and we are co-financing various medical examinations. We also implement all guidelines from the Family-Friendly Company certificate.
We also encourage our customers to live a healthy lifestyle - through the Migimigi prevention program. The main purpose of the Migimigi program is to promote healthy living, exercise, healthy eating, relaxation, socialising and learning, all of which affect the health and well-being of individuals.
Formerly AS for 17 years and now you, Generali, have been sponsors of the My Doctor campaign. Why do you think such actions are important and why do you maintain this cooperation?
At Generali, as before in Adriatic Slovenica, with which we merged at the beginning of 2020, we recognised the heart and importance of the My Doctor project, so further support for such an important national campaign was obvious.
Health is our greatest asset. We all became aware of this during the last pandemic. Only when we get sick we do realise how important it is. When we get sick, of course, doctors are the first persons we seek. In moments like these, we need a comprehensive explanation, a kind smile and a word of understanding that helps us in this difficult situation. Doctors strive to provide us with all the kindness, in addition to professional treatment. Such campaigns pay tribute to the work of many doctors. At Generali, we will be happy to stand by such projects in the future.
Author: Andreja Šalamun