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Healthcare and the Tata group

Healthcare for All

Tata AIG General Insurance and Tata 1mg are helping Indians achieve better health outcomes

May 2024     |     1294 words     |     5-minute read

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The Tata group has been making significant strides in healthcare since the days of the Founder Jamsetji Tata. Its various initiatives in this space — both philanthropic and commercial — aimed at enhancing accessibility, affordability and quality of services, have only continued to grow. 

Through its strategic investments in Tata AIG General Insurance and Tata 1mg, the group aims to play a pivotal role in shaping the future of healthcare in India.

Enabling access to healthcare

India has a hybrid healthcare model, with a tax-paid public health network and a wide range of health services provided by the private sector, which amount to over 65% of the total health expenditure of its citizens. A substantial portion of such health expenditure is spent out-of-pocket. This signifies headroom for growth for Tata AIG in the sector.

“Improving comprehension, and consequently, consideration, requires industry players to enhance clarity and make things easier for the end customer and prevent erosion of trust in the insurance ecosystem,” says Neelesh Garg, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Tata AIG.

The company has prioritised product innovation, diversified offerings, added affordable and geography-based products, including BEneFIT, a reward programme for fitness, and wellness services for a comprehensive cover that extends beyond need-based coverage. For example, in 2023, it introduced its Health Supercharge policy that addresses the dynamic nature of health-related uncertainties for the whole family. The policy has features such as 5X bonus coverage, discount for younger families, and a tailored premium that addresses Tier 2, 3 and 4 markets, thereby extending coverage opportunities to underserved markets. “At Tata AIG, the need to improve accessibility involves expanding geographical distribution and lowering entry barriers, particularly in economically and socially disadvantaged regions of the country,” says Mr Garg.

Other notable products include MediCare Premiere, a comprehensive health package for the entire family that has industry-first offerings, like consumables cover and global cover for planned hospitalisation. Elder Care and Medicare are other customer-focused products that meet diverse needs.

Tech-optimised interactions

Tata AIG leverages technology to improve accessibility, ensuring a better customer journey, right from onboarding to claims. Digital integration with online processes ensures that a health policy is issued instantly. Claimants can seamlessly file and track claims online or through the app, and WhatsApp chat integration offers self-service — over 75% of customers opt for it. The use of optical character recognition technology, enabling instant image-to-text machine readability, digitises documents quickly and assists in sentiment analysis of text, all of which enhance customer experience, while also increasing process efficiency and reducing operational costs. Additionally, the company has enabled a 100% cashless operation, which is key to penetration of health insurance and allied services.   

“To enhance health insurance penetration, it is imperative to tackle the primary barriers of relevance, comprehension and accessibility,” says Mr Garg. “Relevance can be established by fostering a robust claim settlement ecosystem. This entails offering 100% cashless transactions across network providers and ensuring that 100% of these providers adhere to standard or reasonable treatment procedures.”

These efforts have improved the company’s performance. Its retail health indemnity segment has shown a robust growth of ~30% in FY24, surpassing a gross written premium (GWP) of over Rs 850 crore.

Bringing healthcare to the doorstep

While Tata AIG is focused on ensuring access, Tata 1mg aims to resolve what it sees as disparate access to healthcare services, with concerns around quality and ethics. It is on a mission to provide quality healthcare that is accessible and convenient, helping people take charge of their health.

“Dealing with a disease is challenging enough; however, dealing with the process of accessing healthcare is often a bigger challenge and not really the comforting process that it should be,” says Prashant Tandon, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, Tata 1mg. “We believe just doing the simple things right and reliably creates a huge opportunity for us, where we can be the trusted partner for consumers across India as they navigate healthcare.”

Powering this mission is the company’s use of data and technology, a best-in-class consumer-facing product, an enabling middleware technology layer and a robust supply chain, which is one of the best in India — a critical element for its focus on quality and patient-centricity. Its ODIN (Order Delivery Intelligent Network) platform, developed in-house, helps manage tens of thousands of orders daily, pan-India. It allows personnel to go into the minutiae of various aspects, including purchase, inward, picking, quality assurance and controls, packaging, shipping, tracking and inventory management.

The focus on customer-centricity and convenience has propelled Tata 1mg to its market leader position in the Indian online pharmacy sector in terms of gross merchandise value (GMV). By November 2023, the company had over 31% of the market share, according to Redseer, a leading industry advisor. It ended FY23 with an operating revenue of `2,100 crore, a jump of 43% over the previous year. “We are glad that we were able to significantly strengthen our market share, while improving economics considerably, and maintain a world class customer experience, with an NPS of 65+,” says Mr Tandon.

Diagnostics at home

Tata 1mg extends this same attention to detail to its other verticals, which include online diagnostics, consultations, and wellness services. Online diagnostics requires high standards of service orientation at all levels — right from the 900+ patient-facing phlebotomists who manage home sample collections, to experienced pathologists, microbiologists, biochemists, and molecular scientists. Logistics and technology form the backbone, ensuring foolproof and timely delivery of results that could be critical to a patient’s well-being. That Tata 1mg achieves a consistent NPS of 75 and on-time sample collection rates of over 99% is a testament to its commitment to quality and patient-centricity.

A Tata 1mg diagnostic lab

The service is currently scaled to serve patients in 50 cities, with 11 diagnostics labs (including a national reference lab) that are certified by the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories. The company intends to add 100+ new tests spread across areas, including onco-diagnostics, and expand its corporate health and wellness programmes. These include annual checkups, health camps, pre-employment checks, medical room operations, cashless medicine and lab tests, vaccination programmes — any healthcare need that a large employer may offer its employees.

Comprehensive cancer care

Tata 1mg has also developed deep expertise in cancer care to help patients navigate their treatment journey with ease. Its online platform provides patients and their caregivers with support across four dimensions — clinical, financial, psychological and access. Its knowledge base across medical content, pharma companies, hospitals, medicines, diagnostics, and financial support programmes enable it to provide the right guidance and support. The company also works with Tata Trusts-supported cancer centres across India, assisting in their diagnostic, medicine, and critical care needs.

“With the scale, technology capability and market structure, India has the unique opportunity to create not only the right model of healthcare for its citizens, but the entire Global South,” says Mr Tandon.

Being pet-friendly

Observing a gap that needed to be addressed, Tata 1mg is now offering pet care products and services on its app. Mr Tandon believes that the company can offer value in this growing market and has opened the company’s first offline pharmacy for pets at Tata Trusts Small Animal Hospital in Mumbai. The hospital is India’s first-of-its-kind advanced pet care institution and has begun conducting demo operations as part of its trial phase. It offers a comprehensive suite of specialty treatments currently unavailable elsewhere.

Through its initiatives, Tata 1mg is addressing the gap between the availability and accessibility of healthcare services. The Indian online pharmacy market is expected to cross $3 billion in 2024 and there is a big opportunity for socially conscious enterprises looking to advance healthcare. 

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