Speaking to StrategicRISK before his appearance today at the Pan-Asia Risk & Insurance Management Association’s (PARIMA) risk management conference in Singapore, Generali’s Ainsley Oliveiro said corporates needed to better control their healthcare exposures

The director of Generali Employee Benefits (GEB) Asia Pacific told SR that risk managers were realising how “badly managed EB [employee benefits] plans could impact the productivity and efficiency of an organisation and the engagement of its people”.

“Through captive risk financing, many risk managers have also realised that they can diversify their exposure by adding EB to their existing P&C [property and casualty] vehicles,” he said.

Oliveiro, who is taking part in this morning’s ‘Why Must Risk Managers Enter the Employee Benefits Arena’ panel, said that GEB’s had new medical reporting capabilities and a focus on wellness.

“We are providing best-in-class tools to the risk managers to better control their healthcare exposures and help them to reduce absenteeism and increase efficiency,” he said.

GEB’s chief commercial officer Ludovic Bayard said that there had been increased interest shown in by risk managers in employee benefits activity.

“Once an exclusive matter for HR managers, EB is nowadays of interest to a wider spectrum of stakeholders including also CFOs and legal and procurement, highlighting the strategic importance of EB as a tool not only to protect human capital but also meet corporate social responsibility objectives,” he said.

Health insurance was among the most relevant and sensitive employee benefits coverage provided by global employers, Bayard added.

“For both HR and risk management purposes, healthcare benefits help companies to attract and retain valuable employees, diminishing the risk of staff turnover, maintaining a healthy workforce and mitigating costs associated with poor health,” he said.

“However, the trend of spiralling healthcare costs has caused premiums to rise considerably.”

Bayard said there was a demand for medical reporting to help risk managers implement wellness strategies and “keep under control the skyrocketing medical premiums that many companies are facing due to global medical inflation and generalised reduction of welfare benefits”.

Employers have historically lacked reliable, evidence-based data on health claims trends and underlying drivers, Bayard added.

“Most companies were, and to some extent still are, oblivious as to how their employees use their health insurance, and how an effective health insurance strategy can positively contribute to enriching a company’s human capital,” he said.

“Fortunately, things are starting to turn around.

“Some trends have emerged that could potentially end up reducing costs in a significant way.”

People and companies are starting to realise the value of having a centralised provider of information, Bayard said.

“Having different data silos is not enough, especially if these silos are not designed to relate to one another in a rational manner,” he said.

“Companies that implement wellness programs that go hand in hand with health insurance programs should always keep in mind the importance of measuring the return on investment of these programs.

“Although companies can use official data, from social security offices or government entities, these KPIs are not enough.

“They need to know exactly what is going on inside the company.”