PMI digital journeys are evolving

16 May 2024

FCA’s Financial Lives survey found 13% of UK adults (7M) have Private Medical Insurance (PMI) cover, Broadstone research reveals the number of adults with a PMI policy has increased by 1m over the past 5 years. (COVER)

The rising demand for PMI is great for employees and family protection although the increased demand is pushing medical inflation to an unprecedented average of 18.9% (Employer News).

People are now using medical insurance to fill care gaps with overburdened resources elsewhere. There has been a 65% jump in medical insurance enquiries due to the NHS waiting list backlogs. (ifa Magazine).

As the need for private medical insurance grows, so does competitivity within the space. Employer investment into PMI for the workforce will require clear return on investment from policies and coverage (eg reduced absenteeism, increased productivity). Individuals considering taking out their own PMI will do their own research and ensure they can get the most for their money.

Increased demand means increased competitivity, insurers are now focusing on personalisation and encouraging engagement. When people actively engage in services, they can improve their overall health and wellbeing.

Personalised experiences are crucial for competitive success within the dynamic UK insurance industry. 70% of UK consumers want a more personalised health insurance products and 69% want a more personalised life insurance product. (Capco)

Defragmenting multichannel experiences & Insurtech investment

Only 15% of UK consumers use just one insurance provider for all their needs (Capco) Consumers in the insurance industry tend to have fragmented multichannel experiences. Demand for holistic and integrated experiences remains and is increasing.

39% of UK tech insurers expect to increase tech investment within the next two years. Almost 1 in 5 (19%) of UK consumers rate Digital Access/Support as the most important decision factor when choosing an insurance provider. (Capco) 39%

Insurtech refers to technological innovations that are created and implemented to improve the efficiency of the insurance industry powering creation, distribution and administration of the insurance business.

There are two main types of insurtech implementation: technology-based components and solutions-based components.

Technology-based components include but not limited to:

  • AI and Machine Learning
  • Internet of Things IoT devices are connected to the internet and data can be collected to be used for risk prevention. (eg collecting data from wearable technology to create risk patterns and subsequent discounts) – 59% of consumers globally want life insurers to reward them for healthy living.
  • Apps that streamline processes/experiences.
  • Blockchain technology- improves data security and builds trust between insured and insurer.
  • Advanced analytics helps get deeper insights into customer needs and targeted products/services.

Solutions-based components include but not limited to:

  • Data solutions help connect systems to allow users to gain access to actionable data (both for end user and client)
  • Payment solutions digitise systems allowing claims and payments to run smoother/become more automated.

Most tech within the space offers ‘turnkey integrations’ that make it easier to stack or swap in solutions. There is a trend towards mix-and-match technologies to meet the needs of a fast-paced marketplace helping to scale up systems with minimum effort, low impact and reduced associated costs

Mix and match technologies are a quick fix type of solution. Investing in technology that combines all services into one place and helps manage separate solutions will help insurers control and improve individual end user member experiences.

Artificial Intelligence/Data Driven Insights

AI can improve patient experiences by providing personalised care to patients. Many healthcare providers have AI chatbots that patients can use to book appointments, receive reminders or find answers to general health queries.

AI tech and functionalities can help with accessibility for those that cant travel to healthcare facilities and helps to improve communication for people that may not otherwise understand medical terminology. Furthermore, AI can assist in providing translation services for international individuals needing care.

Automation and AI are changing the way insurers interact with members across the value chain from product design to underwriting, pricing and claims. Recent advancements in the digitisation of client interactions have included the increasing use of bionic advisers that integrate human and digital client experiences. (PWC)

In the UK, around 15% of all companies have adopted at least one AI technology. As digital innovation and adoption continue to reshape the risk landscape, new opportunities are created for Digital insurers that can innovate at that pace (PWC).

48% of UK and US insurers with over 100 staff are using AI to provide a better customer experience. Personalisation remains a key priority for consumers, 28% of UK consumers would share additional personal data to get more personalised experiences (Capco).

AI is used in the insurance industry to provide hyper personalised experiences. (RSA) People are used to receiving recommendations from their digital footprint for adverts etc. AI allows insurers to deliver personalised experiences in real-time designed around a user behaviour as it happens. Data is used to understand customer needs and digital journeys are tailored to each customer. E.g personalised recommendations for content based on previous usage “you may like…”

Insurers offering personalised services can boost customer engagement by 89% (DataArt- on Accenture). Increased engagement in digital health tech services means increased education, increased prevention and improved overall wellbeing.

Mobile-first approach

In Capco’s 2023 Survey of UK insurance members’ habits and preferences 63% said they used a mobile device to access insurance products and services via a dedicated app. Insurers understand the importance of digital innovation, data and customer value and are evolving offerings to be fully functional across mobiles with the use of platforms/apps. Investing in the right tech to deliver the most streamlined experience is key for success, including reliable data management and privacy.

Insurers are focusing on increased personalisation through push notifications that assist with appointment reminders, engagement/reengagement eg you may like or pick up where you left off. Push notifications have higher functionality/efficacy on mobile devices.

Mobile first allow insurers to better reach customers on their healthcare journeys in a way that enhances accessibility and improves overall experiences by assisting with a more segmented/targeted approach.


Insurers are personalising experiences by increasing self-serve and automation functions on platforms, apps or websites. These help users find solutions to problems, check claims status, receive/send payment, or access documents etc without needing an insurance rep.

Self service functions increase consumer satisfaction but can also be leveraged by insurers to further personalise experiences by collecting additional information/data to offer maximum value and assist with better data driven decisions .

Extending the traditional PMI…

Post pandemic the PMI space has changed, and demand has increased for what was previously thought as ‘peripheral benefits’ such as remote GP or counselling services. Consumers are turning to PMI policies where they might have previously used the NHS. In turn, this means PMI providers must extend offerings and policies beyond traditional inclusions to remain competitive and meet the consumer’s dynamic needs. There has been a 65% jump in medical insurance enquiries due to the NHS waiting list backlogs. (ifa Magazine)

Extending beyond traditional PMI means an increased reliance on partnerships within the industry to create the most value for the insured.

Many PMI provides now focus on (Milliman)

  • Fast access to primary care and associated services to keep customers well and prevent issues deteriorating further, including minor injuries/urgent care services, more customised and targeted wellness and disease management support.
  • Advice on where to access routine elective surgical care and chronic diseases treatment at preferentially negotiated rates but not included in premiums.
  • Reimbursement and risk pooling of catastrophic costs such as cancer, high-cost cardiac and other events for customer peace of mind. For a high proportion of individuals and insurers, covering all three elements will simply not be affordable anEd so plans may allow a mix-and-match approach, or just focus on one element.

Private Medical Journeys are evolving due to changing customer expectations, technological advancements and increasing digital competition within the space. Customers expect seamless and personalised experiences from providers with easy to access information and policy management flexibility.

Innovations such as telemedicine and data analytics offer further opportunities to enhance the PMI experience, insurers should leverage these technologies to tailor coverage to the individual and focus on prevention.

Overall, the insurance landscape is changing to meet the needs of the evolving consumer. Increased innovation, hyper personalisation, AI and healthtech partners play a key part in improving health outcomes for all and making healthcare accessible and work for the individual, regardless of their situation.