Insurance organisations are stepping up their concerns, as the market becomes more and more congested
As the economy continues its slow recovery from the effects of the recession, while still attempting to prevent inflation from taking over, insurance companies of all types are feeling the bite. In particular, providers that offer health and car insurance policies are finding the going somewhat tougher than in years past. In order to hang on to existing customers and attract new ones, many companies are making changes in their business models, either in terms of the scope of policy options offered to consumers, the level of support provided before and after the policy is in place or a combination of the two.
In the case of health insurance companies, one of the strategies has been to diversify in terms of the type of health insurance policies offered. A number of providers, including many of the state level Blue Cross Blue Shield companies, have moved away from group only insurance plans and begun to offer more options for individual coverage. This move is in recognition of the fact that a number of employers are no longer able to afford health benefits for their employees, as well as uncertainty about exactly how governmental health plans will be impacted by current efforts to reform healthcare within the United States. Even companies that do offer plans to businesses, such as Harleysville Insurance, are making some changes that are above and beyond the shifts occurring due to the merger with Nationwide, as a means of providing coverage to a greater range of the consumer base.
Another measure that some insurance companies are taking in order to remain competitive is to offer companion coverage to existing Medicare plans. The idea is that people who are currently eligible for Medicare, but who may need additional help with expenses not covered by that plan, can buy a supplemental policy that may cost a little each month, but ultimately provides peace of mind in the event of a major or prolonged illness.
Car insurance providers are also introducing new ways of determining the scope of coverage provided and even the basis for that coverage. Price breaks, based on the number of miles customers drive during an average week, special discounts for being accident-free and even a price break for going with online insurance claim filing and statements are all becoming more popular. The idea is that by reducing administrative and clerical expenses, a portion of that savings can be passed on to consumers, saving everyone a little money.
Along with cost cutting measures that allow the companies to be more competitive, both car and health insurance companies are also beefing up customer support throughout the process. Around the clock access via phone, online messaging and email are all intended to provide additional incentives to sign up, by creating a perception among consumers that the providers will be there when they are needed, anytime of the day or night. The question remains, just how effective all these strategies will be in the long run or if other ideas will also change the way insurance companies do business.