A New Form of Medical Insurance
We offer products that support customers with a focus on new risks.
In January 2013, Tokio Marine & Nichido Life started providing Medical Kit R, a medical insurance product based on an entirely new concept. We spoke to Masatoshi Sawada and Toshiyuki Wakamatsu, who were in charge of product development of Medical Kit R.
- Medical Kit R (in Japanese)
- Medical Kit R is a medical insurance product under which the full amount of premiums paid is returned if the policyholder has not received hospitalization benefits or other benefits by a certain age. If the patient has used those benefits, the difference between the premiums paid and the benefits received is refunded. Even after that, lifelong health coverage continues at the same rates as at the time of enrollment. Many customers have enrolled in this, the industry's first medical insurance product (according to a December 2012 survey by Tokio Marine & Nichido Life) that refunds the difference between total premiums paid and benefits received up to a given age while reducing the burden of insurance costs by spreading premium payments over a lifetime.
- Q Please tell us about the circumstances that led to the planning and commercialization of Medical Kit R.
Sawada: In a survey about medical insurance, we found that there is a certain number of people in their 20s to 40s who are reluctant to purchase medical insurance because although they are worried about their future health, they feel it would be hard to continue paying insurance premiums since they are currently healthy and have little risk of being hospitalized. But if they try to get medical insurance at an age when their hospitalization risk is increasing, the premiums will be higher and they may not be able to enroll at all depending on their health condition at that time. We felt that there should be insurance that more of these customers would actively enroll in, and that's what led the company to plan Medical Kit R.
One of the key features of Medical Kit R is that the premiums paid up until a predetermined age, such as age 70, are returned as a "health refund benefit." By having customers look forward to receiving the future health refund benefit, we can encourage them to take steps to enhance their health. Also, even after the health refund benefit is received, lifelong coverage will continue at the same premium as at the time of enrollment. I feel that this company-like insurance product values our customers.
- Q What was your toughest challenge in realizing this product?
Wakamatsu: I would have to say it was calculating the insurance premiums.
I'm in charge of actuarial work, which involves calculating premiums, but when I heard the Medical Kit R product proposal, I thought it would be extremely difficult to realize a product that would return the premiums paid up until a given age, such as age 70, as a health refund benefit. With no precedent to refer to, I could not envision a calculation method for making this a commercial product. I felt like I was stepping into a pitch-black tunnel.
What gave me support at that time was the strong passion of our employees to somehow make this product a reality and show it to many customers. I also had an unwavering determination that "as a Tokio Marine & Nichido Life Hokenbito,* I will do whatever it takes to see this product development through!" Through trial and error, I came up with a new method for calculating insurance premiums, and we somehow managed to make this a viable product.
- At Tokio Marine & Nichido Life, Hokenbito is a term coined to refer to a person engaged in the insurance business who has a sense of social responsibility to protect customers no matter what it takes and a sense of professionalism - a true insurance professional.
- Q What was the reaction of customers?
Sawada: First, when we introduced it to our consumer monitors in the trial stage, one person after another told us, "This is amazing!" I felt good about reactions such as "It would be great if it were available, but is this kind of product realistic?" After the rollout, our Customer Center received feedback from many customers along the lines of "I've always wondered why no company had a product like this. Thank you!," agents who had never engaged in business with us before contacted us and said "I want to handle it." and seeing all our employees working energetically made me feel that I was really glad to have developed this product.
- Q What sort of products would you like to see proposed in the future?
Sawada: Our way of thinking is not that we'll just create products that can sell. We believe that products only come about after we think about the customer and have a story. Changing times and society have brought about new risks that customers may not be aware of, and just overlooking those risks can have serious consequences. Through insurance, we deliver products that enable customers to live with peace of mind without running into trouble. That is our mission, and it is how we contribute to society. As a challenger in the life insurance industry, we want to continue to provide products that support customers.
Wakamatsu: Starting off by thinking about existing systems and products from the customer's perspective with the idea of making them better is what we do at Tokio Marine & Nichido Life. As an Hokenbito at this company, I would like to think outside the box to provide products such as Medical Kit R that customers support.