You’ve worked for IMG since 2017 in various roles; how has the company changed and grown since you joined?
I joined IMG in October of 2017 as the Executive Vice President before becoming President of IMG in January 2020. In August 2021, I assumed the CEO role and currently serve as the CEO and President of the company.
Since 2017, one of the biggest changes for us would be our growth within the assistance services market. Our expanded assistance offerings have allowed us to create more tailored solutions for our customers and clients. We’ve also implemented enterprise-level capabilities to be able to support and serve even more enterprise-level corporations. Our latest change came in early 2021, when our parent company, Sirius Group, merged with Third Point Re to form SiriusPoint. This brought a fresh and exciting perspective to our business with an even stronger emphasis on growth in both new and existing markets.
How has Covid affected IMG, its customers, and employees?
Covid has brought a greater awareness to the need for our products and services. In March 2020, we were nimble enough to quickly transition our global workforce and equip them to work from home and continue supporting our customers with no impact to quality of service. Safety is our top priority. Additionally for our customers, we’ve gained new and unique experience in handling and managing the complexities of Covid evacuations. The way we’ve been able to support our members and corporate clients throughout the pandemic has contributed to our success and expertise within the industry.
Are you seeing a recovery in business travel now?
We are seeing some recovery, but not yet to pre-pandemic levels. Past data suggests that leisure travel comes back first after major industry-affecting events, which we expect to be true post-pandemic. Over the last few months, we’ve seen leisure travel rise, and we expect business travel to start rebounding next year.
How have your security and travel health services changed considering fluctuations in traveller numbers and a potentially heightened awareness of the risks of international travel?
While most business travel has not yet returned, we still have many corporate clients with employees in remote and austere environments, and several countries have also imposed border restrictions that make staff evacuation challenging. We developed a new Covid protection suite of products that helps companies assess the medical risks in each location, formulate and then test evacuation plans, and maintain situational awareness on both a country and regional basis.
We have continued to provide both local care and evacuation services from some of the most remote and challenging locations on the planet, and support all our clients as they scale up their international operations. Additionally, travel safety will continue to be the core of what we do, as we expand and redefine our products and services.
How have IMG and SiriusPoint worked together to achieve their aims in the market?
IMG and SiriusPoint have a history of collaboration and partnership, which enables IMG to innovate and create longterm value in the travel and assistance insurance industries. SiriusPoint is big enough to matter, but nimble enough to respond quickly to the needs of our clients and partners. SiriusPoint and IMG have vested, mutual interests and have plans to accelerate growth and introduce market solutions via a variety of methods and markets.
How is IMG making use of enhanced technology and advances in AI to better serve its customers?
In the past five years, IMG has taken significant steps in our goals to digitise and consolidate platforms to better serve our customers. User friendly websites, portals, and self-service processes have been just a few of our technological accomplishments. Additionally, in the past two years, we began investing in AI to improve the customer experience by automating repetitive tasks. These technology investments are providing our customers faster turnaround times on changes to their policies and answers to their most pressing questions.
Cost containment is a key aspect of IMG’s service offering. The whole industry has changed lately, from simple bill negotiations to real-time medical case management. How has IMG managed this change?
The industry is evolving, and for IMG, case management as a cost containment tool has always been in our DNA. We review care for appropriateness and benefit coverage from the point of first call. Our proactive approach offers the provider prompt, guaranteed payment while guaranteeing the member peace of mind that their medical claims are settled. Our focus on doing so in a timely manner also works in alleviating concerns of unforeseen out-of-pocket costs. Real-time case management across our entire business allows us to identify and support members in the most clinical need, as well as identify early opportunities for cost management.
What can the travel insurance sector do to better communicate to customers about the value of the product? Has Covid had a positive effect on customer perception of travel cover?
Covid has had a major impact on the awareness and encouragement of those seeking travel insurance coverage. Many enquiries begin with the focus on Covid benefits. The additional risks associated with travel and the benefits available to mitigate those risks have been generally more top-of-mind. There is a precedent with major events, such as 9/11, where the industry saw an increase in the rate of people purchasing travel insurance.
We’ve already started to see an increased take rate for travel insurance purchases. While the added awareness is excellent for the industry, it’s now our job to take a product such as travel insurance, which can be complicated for first-time buyers, and break it down for customers in terms of risk, benefits, and processes to show them how purchasing a travel insurance product can save them money and potentially even their lives.
If you could change anything about the way the travel medical insurance sector works, what would it be?
As an industry, I believe we could all do a better job of educating consumers more on the needs, benefits, and purposes of these products. There are many different products and services in the travel sector, so having people understand the nuance between a travel insurance plan, a short-term travel medical insurance plan, or a long-term international private medical insurance (IPMI) plan would help everyone purchase the product that is best suited for their lifestyle and needs.