Can you cancel your health insurance policy at will: a windfall for insurers?

Written by Jean-Luc Frayssinet, on 25 January 2019

This is making a lot of noise in the insurance world: an amendment could soon be added to the Pacte law project allowing the termination of supplementary insurance and provident contracts at any time. Similar to auto insurance contracts, the project under consideration would allow the client to terminate their individual or group supplementary health insurance contract at any time, once the one-year period has passed. This amendment would thus complement the Hamon Law, which had already opened this possibility to property damage contracts in 2014.

While this project doesn't please all the players in the sector, several interpretations can be drawn:

  • From the client's perspective, this reform will offer transparency regarding renewal dates and termination rules.
  • However, insurers will see it as an additional difficulty in implementing multi-year prevention programs and ultimately as a risk of attrition.

But what is the intention behind such a reform project?

In my opinion, it aims to put an end to practices of retaining clients against their will through a complex termination process. This practice was well-known among Telecom operators until the arrival of Free, which, after shaking them up, pushed them to adapt to changes in their customers' behavior by offering modular, new-priced, and non-binding offers.

While regulatory changes may appear as additional constraints, they sometimes present a real opportunity for innovation. Let's remember the wave of protests from taxis after Uber's arrival; it forced taxis to rethink their customer experience and improve their service quality: taxi companies now have well-maintained vehicles and tailored digital services.

What if insurers took inspiration from these examples to seek customer loyalty rather than trying to make them captive?

This evolution of the system offers insurers an opportunity to provide their customers with an unforgettable experience by:

  • Handling their claims promptly, with humanity and fairness,
  • Offering them a unique journey because each customer is unique,
  • Providing fair rates that reward their loyalty and are consistent with those offered to new customers,
  • Offering services tailored to their needs and expectations

It is a unique opportunity for health insurance players to re-enchant customer journeys and experiences, invent complementary/supplementary services, strengthen understanding of expectations and needs, and place innovation at the center of their concerns.

While health is not a business, the customer-insurer relationship should not be confined to complex contractual clauses but should be expressed through a balanced and positive experience.