The health insurance industry’s crucial role in the UK’s Covid-19 recovery was debated at the annual Health and Wellbeing Summit held by the Association of Medical Insurers and Intermediaries (AMII).
More than 200 delegates registered for the Summit, held online for the first time in the Association’s history due to the pandemic, which also focused on the future of the health and wellbeing sector and employee mental health.
Politics and communications guru Iain Anderson led the Summit with an insightful ‘tour de force’ into current macro politics in the UK, assessing the ‘moving parts’ of political risk in the current climate of Covid-19, Brexit, the US election and devolution of power in the UK.
Iain said: “A year ago, the NHS and how it would be funded was right at the heart of every conversation relating to the General Election. Here we are now, and the events of almost every day have changed everything.
“Insurance, in parts, has not had a good Covid. There is a massive cloud hanging over the sector as, although it’s unfair, it has been completely dominated in the Treasury, in policymakers’ and in the FCA’s eyes by business interruption cover.
“The health insurance sector, however, provided capacity for the NHS during the early stages of Covid, and I think the Government will make some pretty key demands in the months ahead.
“The vaccine news provides light at the end of the tunnel, and every politician now places importance in health and wellbeing. The more the sector can lean in to the Covid support effort and the more differentiation between health insurance and other parts of the insurance world, the better.”
Iain provided insight into what he feels will dominate British politics in 2021 – with particular focus on Scotland’s future in the UK, which he said will “suck up political capital” due to “the four-speed UK and the four-speed health debate we now see”, and on the UK’s future relationship with the EU.
The Summit then heard from Barry Waring, Head of Broker Distribution at AMII’s exclusive Group Risk partner, YuLife, who focused on health and wellbeing market trends and the shift towards digital wellness solutions due to Covid-19.
Barry said: “Employee wellbeing is now a mandatory concern for employers and the effects of mental health are more apparent than ever. There’s been a huge shift towards digital solutions as a result of Covid-19, with a surge for wellness apps in the last two quarters. “Covid-19 shows that there are new ways of working and that inclusivity is crucial, too. People want to be treated the same – hierarchy almost becomes less of an issue when everybody is working from home, which is where group risk products come in.”
The final keynote speaker was The Priory Group’s Dr Ed Burns, who discussed how employer support for the mental wellbeing of staff will become fundamental as a result of Covid-19.
Dr Burns said: “We really need to focus on supporting the physical needs for people with mental health conditions due to Covid. The longer things have gone on, I’ve seen a surge in mental health issues. We’ve got to identify the issues and the risk to people when they come forward.
“This is a temporary normal, not a new normal. Covid has thrown up huge problems for all of us. Prevention and early intervention are key in treatment of these issues – if people do not have good mental wellbeing, they are unable to engage in work in a meaningful way and are unable to engage in relationships.”
Closing the Summit, AMII Executive Chairman Stuart Scullion, said: “We were delighted to host so many delegates and three brilliant speakers at the 2020 Virtual Summit. They covered key concerns for health and wellbeing as we begin the recovery from Covid-19 while managing other key issues.”
To view each AMII 2020 Health & Wellbeing Summit presentation document, visit https://amii.org.uk/amii-2020-health-wellbeing-summit/amii-summit-2020-presentations