You’ve worked in the industry for 10 years and, while I’m sure most of it is positive, what one thing do you wish you could change?
I would like to see much stronger collaboration between payers and providers. At the end of the day, we create a customer experience that should be easy, predictable and affordable. The customer doesn’t know (and shouldn’t care) who delivers which part of that overall experience; it just needs to work.
You’re obviously passionate about what you do. If you could tell your younger self one thing to help them in their career, what would it be?
Careers are never linear, and horizontal or diagonal moves ultimately make you a more well-rounded professional. Also, I have benefitted tremendously from my experience in various marketing roles in my career, as it has taught me the importance of consistently putting the customer at the heart of everything we do.
That’s really good advice. What three strengths are essential for your role?
Being purpose-led, having a laser focus on the customer, and being very results-oriented. I regularly remind myself and my team why we do what we do. For every decision we make, we actively ask ourselves this question: how will this increase the impact we are able to make, and the lives we are able to touch? In my opinion, having this as our North Star really helps to keep us focussed and drive towards the right outcomes.
Can employer-provided healthcare save companies money in the long run?
We do believe that prevention is as important as providing our customers access to the right care when they need it. So many of our Whole Health programmes are designed to keep employees healthy, engaged and productive. We have conducted a lot of research on the efficacy of wellness, and for every programme we are able to calculate a clear return. Fortunately, more and more employers understand that employee wellbeing is not a cost, but a strategic investment that yields meaningful longer-term returns.
What exciting things has Cigna Europe got planned for the future?
As we roll out our Whole Health strategy across Europe we are currently developing and exploring new opportunities with strategic partners, so that together, we can work towards better health outcomes and improved satisfaction. Virtual care and telemedicine have taken centre stage the past year, and our decision to start integrating virtual care delivery with in-person care services before the pandemic hit was extremely pivotal. One example is our Symptom Checker pilot in partnership with Infermedica, a leading specialist in developing AI tools for triage and preliminary medical diagnosis.
Sounds interesting, how does it work?
Customers can input their medical symptoms with the tool and discover the possible causes, before Symptom Checker signposts them to the right care by suggesting next steps, including recommendations for a specialist or doctor. We’re continually challenging ourselves to deliver innovative, market-leading solutions that not only improve access and enhance patient experience, but transform healthcare delivery.
Collaboration is important to Cigna Europe, what are the main benefits of working with others?
As a health service provider and champion of Whole Health, strategic partnerships and innovation are hugely important to us in terms of delivering quality, patient centred care, and we benefit hugely by bringing teams together to provide joined up care. We are laser-focussed on making health care simple, affordable, and predictable, and we can’t achieve any of this without the support and expertise of our partners. Inter-professional collaboration is a key point of differentiation and growth driver for Cigna Europe, and helps us to accelerate the pace of innovation, rapidly expand our reach, and create a culture that improves patient care and outcomes.
If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would you go and who would you take?
Having worked from home for the past 15 months, I would literally go anywhere right now! I really miss the travel, and the opportunity to meet clients, brokers and colleagues in person. One of my favourite holiday destinations is Bonaire, and my family and I cannot wait to visit this beautiful Dutch island again.
What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?
I lived and worked in South Korea for three years and thoroughly enjoyed that experience. You can still wake me up anytime of the day for good Korean food. My all-time favourite Korean dish is Bibimbap, which is a mix of rice, vegetables, meat, egg and spicy sauce served in a very hot stone pot. We have a very good and authentic Korean restaurant in The Hague. I never learnt to cook Korean food, but my wife does make a great Bibimbap. She also makes her own Kimchi, which is the fermented spicy cabbage that Koreans eat with almost every meal.