American insurer attacks

The American health insurer Cigna is now attacking Germany. He wants to help companies keep their workforces healthier. The market trend is providing tailwind, which is also beneficial to German competitors.

Employees of a Ludwigsburg clinic present their telemedicine offer.

Dhe health insurance market in Germany has for many years been regarded as firmly divided and unattractive for new market participants. That was because of all sorts of political restrictions on the business. But in the meantime this picture has changed. The Insurtech Ottonova is currently establishing itself as a new full insurer, and other start-ups also want to at least get into additional health insurance business.

In addition, group business with corporate customers, for which a great future has long been predicted, is gradually developing more promisingly. This now also calls a large international player on the scene who has so far only signed business passively in this country – i.e. at the request of the company at an insurance broker. In the coming days, the American health insurer Cigna will really enter the German market.

Cigna is a dynamic Connecticut-based insurer that emerged from the merger of various companies, similar to the French Axa. It can look back on almost 230 years, serves around 175 million customers around the world, has a turnover of 160 billion dollars and is listed in the S&P 500 stock index.

Cigna trusts in digital health offers

“We believe that the future belongs to virtual health care,” said Arjan Toor, CEO of Cigna in Europe, the FAZ in a video interview. With a network of more than 1.5 million doctors, clinics and specialist service providers around the world, he believes that German companies with an international focus can offer their employees a good deal.

Recent employee surveys showed that three quarters would like their company to get involved in health care, but only a quarter actually have it. “That’s a significant gap between what you expect and what you get,” says Toor. “Good employers listen to what their employees say.”

Cigna has set itself the task of first carrying out an analysis of where the needs lie in a company with the help of employee surveys. The result would be tailor-made health care offers that go with it. “Direct access to specialists is at the core of our whole health offering,” says Toor. If an employee has used a service, the invoice goes directly to Cigna.

Domestic health insurers are strong in the workforce business

Domestic insurers such as Gothaer and Alte Leipziger have also entered the business with employer health insurance in Germany and have achieved above-average growth rates here for several years. Süddeutsche Krankenversicherung is pursuing a comprehensive approach that also serves to protect the collective workforce from failures. Cigna comes closest to this approach with its new “Whole Health” strategy.

The idea spread by Axa that insurers have to move from payers to partners can also be found in this approach. “We have developed something of our own. A lot of competitors talk about mental illness without taking the conversation to a new level, ”says Toor. Above all, managers should make the health of their workforce an issue. “We measure the return on investment of an investment, that’s on the boss’s agenda,” he says.

One of the advantages of Cigna is its international orientation, which means that the company is at home in many health insurance systems. So far it is already well represented in small and medium-sized companies with international business, international organizations and corporations. “We see a gap: companies are starting to give more weight to the health of their employees, but are not getting the help they need.”