Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Avon Healthcare Limited, Mrs. Adesimbo Ukiri, has identified innovation as a key factor that will aid the deepening of health insurance in Nigeria.
According to a statement on Sunday, Ukiri said this at the BusinessDay CEO forum in Lagos.
She said that if HMOs could focus on innovation, particularly in the area of product development, the Nigerian market would find health insurance much more attractive.
“Innovation should play a leading and pivotal role in the evolution of health insurance and the drive to achieve universal health coverage in Nigeria. With a population of about 170 million people, the ability to innovate and come up with different products to meet the needs and affordability requirements of the wide and diverse market segments that exist in the country is crucial.”
“At the moment, a comparison of the health plans offered by most HMOs will reveal a similar set of four plans. They may be called different names but the plans are essentially the same at their core,” she said.
According to her, there needs to be a concerted effort industry-wide, from all HMOs, to move away from this trend if it must progress beyond the current four per cent health insurance market penetration statistics that is often quoted for the country.
Ukiri also called for innovation in the area of channel development, which in her view, was a requirement for offering health insurance products to previously unserved market segments.
This, she said, would open up new opportunities for the entire industry. She observed the fact that the informal private sector had largely been ignored by health insurance companies till date and the focus of most HMOs had been on a maturing and over-served corporate market segment.
Ukiri reiterated that Avon HMO would continue to play a key role in innovating to make health care accessible and available to all Nigerians.
“At Avon HMO, we are talking to our peers about the need to collaborate in order to innovate. The Nigerian market is one of great scale, the industry must work together to create the structures needed to achieve rapid market penetration. This will lead to extended reach, expanded market size, more efficiently priced cost of care, wider benefit coverage on plans, and ultimately, lower premiums per head,” she stated.