Currently, Now Health International is one of the most trusted names in the iPMI industry with several international health insurance provider awards under their belt.
Mr Garcia also talks about the most recent developments in his company, such as their “Reach Now, Health Rich” program; a China-specific development, their acquisition of Best Doctors Insurance, and their new Hong Kong Preferred Provider Network.
Learn more about Mr Garcia’s insights and Now Health International’s future developments and projects in his full interview below.
A: We launched Now Health International in January 2011 so we are about to celebrate our six-year trading anniversary. My previous role was the Global MD of Goodhealth Worldwide and was responsible for putting them on the map as ‘first mover’ in many markets such as Dubai, Hong Kong and China from the mid 1990s to 2006.. Following the sale of Goodhealth to Aetna in 2007 I came back four years later with Now Health International, which had been two years in the creation.
Following in the footsteps of Goodhealth’s challenger mentality, I created Now Health International to be the answer to the poor service the IPMI market had historically delivered. We wanted to disrupt the market and innovate with great service and easy to use technology for our customers.
Now Health is headquartered in Hong Kong so as to be located at the heart of the growth of the main emerging markets for international private medical insurance in Asia. To be successful in this region we needed to be located on the ground. It also provided a point of difference to our competitors who are mainly European and American.
However, Now Health is far from limited to Asia. We have 12 major worldwide offices covering four continents. It started with offices just in expat hotspots of Hong Kong and Dubai and the UK, soon followed by Shanghai, and then in 2014 by Singapore and Beijing. Then in 2015 we added Indonesia and had our biggest move with the acquisition of Best Doctors Insurance, automatically launching us into markets into Latin America, the Caribbean and Canada.
2016 was another pivotal year for the business although less visible than in previous years, with the announcement of our partnership with Reinsurance Group of America (RGA). RGA is a New York-listed, Missouri-based reinsurer managing over $3 trillion in life and health reinsurance business. The process of transitioning from our existing arrangements is currently underway and will take around 12-months to complete. The deal allows us to have much greater flexibility with product and premium structures, the positive results of which we have started to see in the last three months.
The business now has 350 staff in 12 offices serving 115,000 customers, which is a major achievement from our beginnings six years ago with 50 staff on payroll and not one single customer!
A: Reach Now, Health Rich is an exciting China-specific proposition development, which combines the launch of our first mid-tier plan ChinaCare, with a new tech-enabled concierge platform targeted at High Net Worth local Chinese people.
We understand completely that the emerging Chinese middle class need access to better healthcare but find the premiums and benefits of our flagship proposition too rich. That’s why we designed a plan that has affordable but comprehensive cover and accesses the VIP units of public hospitals in China.
We also understand that it can be extremely difficult to navigate the local healthcare system so we have launched the ‘Pocket Doctor’ service using WeChat, the Chinese social media platform of choice. Our customers can book online health consultations, find health information and find the nearest hospital.
This concept of delivering access to a total healthcare solution for HNW customers in China means that access to top quality healthcare is now not only for the super-rich!
A: We are going through a considered process of integration at the moment, which we plan to take around 12-24 months to complete. The Best Doctors Insurance business is a hugely successful operation and we have taken care not to disrupt its momentum.
Our plan is to bring together the best of both businesses and over time, we will combine them into one brand.
We have already brought many synergies to the combined business such as the medical provider network and the RGA reinsurance deal. But of course it doesn’t stop there. At the moment, the Best Doctors Insurance business is in the process of enhancing its service proposition while Now Health International will be introducing some of the excellent added value services that form part of the BDI proposition in this coming year.
A: The latest innovation from Now Health International is the Hong Kong Preferred Provider Network, which offers substantial savings for residents of Hong Kong.
It's a well-known fact that medical care in Hong Kong is amongst the more expensive locations in the world. With these costs reflected in international health insurance premiums for HK-resident clients, it can make it an expensive purchase. The introduction of this new exclusive benefit for residents of Hong Kong offers up to 30% off our standard WorldCare premiums in return for accessing medical care from one of our Preferred Providers.
To ensure our members gain privileged access to this Preferred Provider Network, we have partnered with UMP, one of the most renowned hospitals and medical clinic networks in Hong Kong.
The new option is available for individuals and families on both new and renewing plans. There are no additional restrictions on the remaining WorldCare benefits or Now Health's award-winning service. This option comes with a Nil excess and semi-private hospital accommodation level as standard.
A: IPMI has become a highly competitive market in the last 10 years so providers have to have a significant point of difference if they want to stand out. With all the new market entrants, the market has also become more price sensitive so everyone has to work harder to win business. This is no bad thing however as it’s great to see the market thriving with lots of innovation and huge improvements in product, technology and service innovation!
Compliance and regulation also continues to be a major theme as more and more countries implement stricter regulations and often mandatory health insurance programmes. Again, this is all good for the customer as it provides better access and health protection for emerging markets – and for us, it means that more and more local nationals can access better levels of healthcare, growing our market beyond that of just expats.
A: As you would expect 2017 is going to be another major year for us. In addition to integrating the combined businesses, we will be focussing on more product development and enhancements. Our flagship product WorldCare, is going to get an upgrade and we have plans to launch a brand new product for the mid-tier market.
We are also going to refresh some of our secure web services with an improved user experience launching in the near future.