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Antony Jacob

CEO | 28 Jun 2010

Our approach to health insurance lies in our positioning -‘Let’s Uncomplicate’. It is our belief and our journey. Health insurance is not yet seen as the ideal vehicle to finance healthcare expenditure. We want to showcase Apollo Munich as a straight-forward, user-friendly and hassle-free health insurance company that will consistently tackle the general concerns faced by people when it comes to healthcare and health insurance.

Antony Jacob, CEO, Apollo Munich Health Insurance, brings on board 24 years of rich experience with corporates such as ITC, the Continental Grain (now part of Cargill) and RSA Group. His most recent role at RSA Group was as Regional Finance Director, Asia & Middle East, based in Dubai.

Prior to that, he was Managing Director of Royal Sundaram Insurance, a company he was involved in from its inception.

Apollo Munich Health Insurance Co Ltd is a joint venture between Apollo Hospitals Group and Munich Health, Munich Re’s newest business segment.

In conversation with exchange4media’s Tuhina Anand, Jacob speaks about Apollo Munich’s ‘Let’s Uncomplicate’ philosophy, the brand strategy and the health insurance market.

Q. From Apollo DKV to Apollo Munich, how would you explain the brand journey in nutshell?

Apollo DKV Insurance Co Ltd was rechristened Apollo Munich Health Insurance at the end of 2009, when the company undertook a new re-branding exercise. The announcement of the ‘Apollo Munich’ name was a significant milestone for us as the company is set to scale business to garner a sizable share of the growing market for health insurance.

The new name is in line with our brand strategy to communicate the deep-rooted expertise of the company. Apollo is a household name synonymous with the best quality healthcare, and our partner company Munich Health is a true pioneer in the field of global health risk management. We felt it was necessary to have the brand reflect the strong foundation and build greater familiarity with consumers as we grow our business in the coming years.

Q. How does the new name help in connecting with the consumers? Also, what communication activity was undertaken to communicate the change to the consumers?

Our new name - Apollo Munich Health Insurance - embodies a promise to our customers of providing affordable and innovative health insurance solutions based on the combined expertise of both partners, each a leader in their respective field.

‘Let’s Uncomplicate’ campaign was designed to tackle the general concerns faced by people when it comes to healthcare and health insurance. As the campaign states, Apollo Munich envisages to take the fear out of faces, the jargon out of words, the bitter out of medicine and trouble out of treatment, to uncomplicate healthcare, and more specifically, health insurance. These messages were clearly spelt out in the commercial with visuals. The visuals were given a serene treatment that reflected happy emotions of people from various walks of life. The idea was to dispel the negativity that is associated with healthcare and insurance.

Q. How would you explain the brand positioning today vis-à-vis the competition?

Our approach to health insurance lies in our positioning -‘Let’s Uncomplicate’. It is our belief and our journey. Health insurance is not yet seen as the ideal vehicle to finance healthcare expenditure. We want to showcase Apollo Munich as a straight-forward, user-friendly and hassle-free health insurance company that will consistently tackle the general concerns faced by people when it comes to healthcare and health insurance.

We want to simply communicate health insurance to our consumers – from buying it, to understanding what will be covered, to making claims for Indians across the country. We focus on the easy, uncomplicated process we have for people seeking comprehensive health insurance for themselves and their loved ones.

Q. What are the marketing activities planned to connect with the consumers for the next two quarters?

Apollo Munich will consistently invest in building market readiness through consistent mainline communication. Our communication focus will be to de-jargonise and uncomplicate the insurance process in terms of policy wordings, benefits or the claims process.

Q. Please share more about your media plan and the new TVC. Which agency is handling the communications?

We are in the process of finalising our media plan for the rest of this financial year with the focus on being consistently present across all mass media channels for the major part of the year. Advertisements will be aired across all news and entertainment channels and will tackle the general concerns faced by people when it comes to healthcare insurance. The campaign would be supported strongly by 360 degree market activation initiatives. The same include innovative out of home, digital and print campaign besides mall and cinema hall activation.

Q. Please elaborate on the company’s retail plan?

With the strong understanding that Apollo Hospitals and Munich Health bring to healthcare and health insurance, we are in a good position to develop new market leading products. We do this with a clear understanding of the voice of the customer. Having said that, we already have some of the best products in the market, and the scope for growth is quite substantial. At present, our agency sales force is the most dominant of all our retail channels and helps generate maximum part of the premium income for the company. There are over 12,000 agents working across the country, and the same would increase by 5,000 every year till we reach about 40,000 by 2014-15. As far as our presence goes, we are present in 20 cities with 30 offices and we are taking calculative steps for adding new offices. However, we are keeping a close eye on the possible regulatory changes in terms of us gaining access to the bancassurance channel alongside a life and a general insurance company. This can enable us to enhance our reach in the most cost effective manner.

Q. Is there any particular policy/ plan you will be focusing in your communication in the future? If yes, please elaborate.

Our past research has thrown light on several segments that have not been tapped yet and we look forward to bringing specialised products that customers are looking for. This year we are focusing on retail products for individuals and families that will help them safeguard their future health needs, be it for inpatient or out-patient category.

We are shortly launching a long-term travel plus medical product for frequent travelers, as well as top-up products specially targeting individuals with medical cover from their organisations. All future communication would hold these propositions as their base to popularise health insurance as a sector.

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