Cigna is a major provider of employee healthcare benefits with services including private medical insurance, dental plans, absence management, occupational health and wellbeing programmes. Cigna has experience within the UK market going back to 1983. Often viewed as a company that caters predominantly for large corporate clients, Cigna has recently taken on a considerable number of much smaller companies as clients.
Within the UK alone, Cigna supports over 8,000 employees a year back to work. Interestingly, Cigna are also one of the leaders in the UK market for providing dental benefits. Cigna say of their services in the UK "Our clients are increasingly looking for ways to integrate their health benefits and services to more effectively control the impact and cost of ill health whilst caring for their colleagues and providing a competitive benefits package. Cigna can provide integrated solutions including acting as a gatekeeper for other providers services. We believe challenging corporate values are key to the success of our business and all of our employees are committed to demonstrating this in all they do. Our values are: Have the best people, know our customers, nail the basics, improve all the time, live and breathe performance. Our aim is to continually challenge ourselves to demonstrate continuing improvement and everyone in the business is an acknowledged part of that success."
Looking at Cignas position out of just the UK market and on a more global scale, the Cigna Corporation is ranked at number 130 within the Fortune 500 and position 467 in the Global 500. The international division of Cigna has operations in twenty nine countries across the globe with over 15,000 employees.
Fitch Rating (Long-Term, Issuer Default Rating) Cigna Corp; BBB+ (01/12/2010)
Moodys Rating (Long-Term) Cigna Corporation; Baa2 (21/02/2007)
||As part of our exclusive interview series with leading figures in the health insurance industry, we put our questions to James Parker, Managing Director of Cigna UK HealthCare Benefits. You can read the full interview below
What is it that makes Cigna unique?
At Cigna UKHB we ask our customers to experience the difference. By that we mean intermediaries, employers and employees can rely on Cigna UKHB to:
- Understand their needs and treat them as individuals
- Deliver a consistently high quality service
- Develop innovative solutions which achieve a good ROI
- Use intelligent care pathways that support individuals and manage costs
- Provide useful information which helps manage health
Our customers know they are dealing with a person at Cigna, rather than a system or a process.
What direction or increased specialisation do you see Cigna taking in the future?
Cigna UKHB is part of a group of Cigna companies operating in theUK. Our specialisation is in helping employers manage employee health and productivity. We expect to continue with this mission and simply extend the number of solutions we provide. Today our core capabilities are in medical and dental plans and occupational and wellbeing services. We can extend our offering through our Cigna Connect affiliates who provide related services such as EAP, health screening, private GPs and gyms.
What are the future plans for the company?
We want to continue to be a leading provider of employer health and productivity solutions and to significantly grow the size of ourUKbusiness over the next 5 years. We’ve just moved into a new purpose built office space which gives us plenty of room for expansion. We will continue to work closely with our Cigna sister companies in theUK, as well as our Cigna Connect affiliates to make sure we can provide the right solutions to meet our customer needs.
||The UK workforce is aging and that isn’t going to change. The stark reality for employers is that a certain level of employee health related problems are inevitable and unavoidable.
What future trends do you see emerging for the UK health insurance industry?
The UK workforce is aging and that isn’t going to change. The stark reality for employers is that a certain level of employee health related problems are inevitable and unavoidable – and these are often the same problems that drive healthcare costs. That said there’s no denying that healthy lifestyle decisions and behaviours can help prevent some problems from developing, and reduce the impact of existing conditions. So introducing a robust approach to improving employee health and wellbeing, and more importantly helping employees manage long term conditions, is something that employers need to take a lot more seriously.
We expect over time to see US owned employers based in the UK linking membership of medical plans to a commitment from employees to change certain behaviours or improve their overall health and wellbeing. This will undoubtedly lead to other UK employers following suit. We also expect to see a closer link between occupational health case management and funding via a medical plan that focuses on conditions that are preventing people from being productive or at work. This also fits with another employer desire to be more equitable with their benefits – there’s been some evidence of employers opening up company plans to the whole organisation by reducing cover available to executives and introducing an out-patient or diagnostic plan for all with a flex up option to include inpatient at the employee’s own expense. A condition based basic level of cover is another alternative way of doing this that we may see emerging in the market.
What future trends do you see emerging for the American health insurance industry?
Cigna recognises that the US healthcare system is facing multiple challenges in terms of
- Rising costs
- Poor health
- Unequal access to healthcare
- Fragmented system
- Inconsistent quality
Cigna has been closely involved in the debates about how to address these issues and supports 5 key tenets
- Provide access to quality care at a reasonably affordable cost
- Provide transparency into costs and quality
- Use incentives (rather than mandates) to encourage continuous coverage and lifestyle choices
- Offer individuals affordable choices in insurance coverage
- Take a borderless and culturally-sensitive view of health care
What does your typical day at Cigna involve?
As Managing Director at Cigna UKHB, my role is varied. This is one of the reasons why I enjoy my job. A ‘typical’ day for me doesn’t exist. I spend a large portion of my time out of the office visiting clients, intermediaries or other parts of the Cigna group. On days when I am in the office, I have a lot to catch up on. So I’ll be dealing with emails, phone calls and holding business meetings with our Senior Management Team to discuss the latest issues facing our business. We regularly hold communication sessions with staff and managers to make sure everyone is kept up to date with development news and what the company’s priorities and issues are.
What part of your role at Cigna gives you the most satisfaction?
Last year at Cigna we launched The Community Service Program. This allows Cigna employees to volunteer with charities in the community within working hours. In September 2011, a group made up from several Cigna departments went onsite in GreenockScotland, working at a local care home. We helped the charity Quarriers improve the gardens so that the residents had a safe and pleasant space they could enjoy in the nice weather. Seeing what a difference we could make to the gardens was exceptional. This is a great initiative to be involved in. We regularly encourage our staff to take part in this and to give back in the community.
Cigna has experience in theUKgoing back to 1983. What do you see as being some of the key changes and developments that have happened during this time?
I won’t claim to know much about the healthcare environment in 1983 but I do think the biggest change over the past 20 years has been people’s expectations of what they want from their healthcare. This is in terms of the standards of service they expect and how much it can do for them. People expect excellent service at all times whether they are in a retail setting, accessing financial services or using the healthcare system.
What are also some of the key changes and developments that have happened in a more contemporary sense, over the last few years or so?
In the past few years we have seen information become much more freely available, not least via the internet, and this means people feel more able to question their care as they have tools to better understand what they should expect and what their choices are.
What social media sites can Cigna be found on?
You can follow Cigna UKHB on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/company/cigna-uk-healthcare-benefits
Or visit our website for more information: www.cigna.co.uk
What value do you see in relationships with healthcare intermediaries?
Our relationships with healthcare intermediaries are critical to us as a business, not just in theUK, but globally. Focusing on theUKmarket, Cigna provides niche, high quality and choice driven healthcare services to corporate clients. Each of our three core products has different levels of intermediary exposure. Our private medical and dental products are almost exclusively distributed through intermediaries, and about 50% of our occupational health services.
Taking our private medical products as an example, where virtually all of our business is written through an intermediary. Our philosophy focuses on making sure that each of our customers receives timely, appropriate treatment in the setting that is right for that customer’s personal circumstances. Our approach differs substantially from the mainstream providers. We have to make sure intermediaries fully understand our proposition. We work closely with them to identify prospective clients where we can add value. Then we make sure our partners have all the information and data they need in order to articulate our story in a clear and concise manor.
Without healthcare intermediaries, we would no doubt find distribution more of a challenge and as a result we work hard to build, grow and maintain strong relationships with all of our intermediary partners