Last year, Global Health Insider (GHI) had the privilege to interview Rosaline Koo, the Founder and CEO of CXA, about “Disrupting Employee Benefits in Asia”. This year, GHI catches up with Ms Koo about the developments within her company particularly their expanding market, new investments in InsurTech, and the overall growth of CXA in Asia.
Learn more in her full interview below.
A lot has happened at CXA since we spoke a year ago. Without the weight of a corporate bureaucracy, I’ve learned that start-ups can move at a radically faster pace than larger firms. It actually feels like we’re compressing time.
Over this period, we’ve raised money, hired key talent, expanded to new markets and channels, and attracted new wellness providers and partners. Most importantly, we won a bunch of new corporate clients. Here’s some of the big news:
Fundraising: CXA is now valued at over $US100M after our $25M Series B cash infusion from Eduardo Saverin and B Capital (BCG), Singapore Economic Development Board Investments (EDBi), Philips Healthcare and the Reinsurance Group of America (RGAx).
Awards: CXA’s business model, which offers employees the ability to personalise benefits and shifts a company’s existing healthcare spending from treatment to prevention, is getting recognised across the industry. Some of the awards we received are the following:
Fortune/Global 500 Clients: CXA attracted 53 Fortune/Global 500 clients away from global industry incumbents with our end-to-end solution of bundled brokerage, consulting, data analytics and a flex and wellness marketplace platform. We now have over 500 corporate clients in Singapore.
Market Expansion: We are now able to offer services across ten countries in Asia: in addition to our wholly owned Singapore and Hong Kong licenses, CXA now has partnership agreements with Fosun in China and Howden in India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand. Through other brokerage partners, we are also able to serve clients in Japan, Korea, and Taiwan.
SAAS Distribution Channel Launch: CXA’s software as a service (SAAS) channel took off with six signed contracts from insurers looking to white-label our platform to cross-sell personal insurance to individuals via the workplace or other affinity groups. Initial pilots achieved high penetration rates, so we’re seeing multiple insurers expand their relationships with us. Several are bundling our health risk assessment questionnaire with face-ageing technology into their portals to better engage their customers, and some are considering using our platform in the US and Europe.
Provider Ecosystem: We have continued to build out CXA as the ecosystem for the workplace, capturing health data at the source through integration with insurers, biometric screening and wellness providers. We now have over 1000+ discounted wellness offers and worksite products in our marketplace for employees to purchase with their flexible spending account or credit card. Our mobile apps and integration with the major group insurers eliminate insured and flex paper claims and the need for employees to pay out of pocket and wait for reimbursements.
Key hires: Now that we’ve proven our model works in Singapore, we’re hiring the industry heavy hitters to staff up in the other regional HQ markets of Hong Kong and China. With our funding and $100M valuation, CXA has been able to recruit the industry’s top talent from the international HR consultancies and brokerage houses.
Our success has allowed us to attract the APAC leader, Singapore EB leader, consultants and actuarial analysts from Towers Watson. From Mercer Marsh Benefits, we’ve hired two global partners, along with senior consultants, actuaries, brokers, and operations and business leaders. Our new China office head led Aon Hewitt’s Greater China benefits consulting business, along with several senior consultants, actuaries and engineers. Our Hong Kong brokerage leader and several senior engineers have joined us from JLT.
We continue to attract great team members from both inside and outside our industry to join us in our expanded Singapore and Hong Kong offices, and our two new offices in Beijing and Shanghai.
We were fortunate to have over 20 investors interested in joining our series B round, which allowed us to select those who could best help CXA grow. The B Capital team has deep experience in insurance and healthcare, and BCG and Eduardo are able to introduce us to the Fortune 500 CEOs we’re hoping to serve. CXA was selected as the first investment from the healthtech investment alliance between EDBi and Philips Healthcare, so we plan to leverage Philip’s health population analytics, medical devices and chronic disease solutions. And we’re working with RGA to develop a health score that we can link to reductions in group insurance premiums.
With an additional $25M in the bank, we’re scaling the platform and shared services to support ten countries across Asia with new functionality for our data-driven health management and white-label SAAS solutions.
Several banks, tech firms, payroll and government-linked entities have approached us to bundle their products and services with our flex wellness platform to cross-sell their captive SME base. For this to work, we need to lower the cost of sales and servicing, so we’re working on a prototype with HR self-service for simple benefits configuration and administration.
Asia is facing seismic shifts in the healthcare and benefits landscape. The region’s population is ageing, while lifestyles and diets are rapidly changing, contributing to a dramatic rise in the incidence of chronic disease. Compounding this, genetic factors make it so that Asian populations are pre-disposed to getting diabetes at a lower BMI. Together, these trends are driving unsustainable double-digit annual increases in insurance premiums and healthcare costs. However, Asia’s talent wars continue, and employers cannot simply cut benefits to reduce costs. For years, employers curbed cost increases with annual remarketing of their insurance programs, but this is becoming increasingly ineffective due to high claims costs making group insurance unprofitable. As a result, firms have begun introducing wellness programs to combat the cost drivers, but most are shooting in the dark - unable to design programs that will address their populations’ problems or to measure the ROI of the interventions they introduce.
With all of these challenges, HR professionals are beginning to question traditional brokers about their value. They are demanding real solutions for worsening health conditions, rising premiums and ineffective wellness programs.
CXA is designing and launching data-driven technology solutions in response to the challenges our HR partners are facing. CXA helps employers gather information about employee health status and behaviour – everything from year-on-year biometric health screening data to lifestyle habits to benefits utilisation and claims data. Our platform analyzes this information and provides each employee with tailored health improvement recommendations, education and insurance and wellness products and services.
We’re also working with RGA on providing employees with a personalised health age that summarises their health status in one easy number. In the aggregate, employees’ health age translates to a firm-wide “health score” which can be used to project three years of insurance premiums and show the likely outcomes with and without interventions. For employers who want to improve health scores by making targeted investments, CXA’s team brings targeted cost containment solutions. These can range from redesigning benefits to incentivize healthier behaviour, to controlling provider costs with e-pharmacies for lower cost prescriptions and tele-health, to using chronic disease management providers to attack high-cost claims. Our platform will track improvements in behaviours and health status, and offer employees rewards – additional funds into their flexible spending accounts, for example – participation and progress.
CXA is working with insurers and re-insurers to give companies pre-negotiated reduced rates over a 3 year period if they are willing to commit to investing in targeted interventions and see improvements in health scores.
We believe that having the data and tools to improve employee engagement, analyse risk, and demonstrate ROI for employers will be the key to solving Asia’s pain points and transforming employee benefits to value prevention over treatment.