IN THE PINK OF HEALTH

Dubai 2020 | HEALTH | INTERVIEW

Cigna Insurance wants to a play a role in making Dubai's population adopt healthier lifestyles with the help of research and interactive technology.

Jérôme Droesch
BIOGRAPHY

Jérôme Droesch oversees Cigna's locally regulated offices in the Middle East. Prior to joining Cigna, Droesch was with AXA Group for over 27 years, where he held various management positions across multiple locations and business, including as a member of its executive committee; regional CEO for AXA France; and regional CEO for AXA Gulf and Middle East Region. He most recently served as the CEO for AXA Partners, based out of London. In addition, he currently is an advisor to the French ambassador to the UAE. He holds a degree from INSEAD and a master's in wealth management from the SKEMA Business School. He also holds a master's in engineering from École Centrale.

How would you assess the health insurance market in Dubai?
There are massive advancements and changes always affecting the sector. Healthcare spending is still growing and quite fast. Its growth will continue for several reasons. First, some specialties that are coming online are not as developed as in other markets like the US and Europe. Second, healthcare companies continue to invest heavily in technology, which means there is still healthy room for growth in the market. Looking at long-term trends, the economy has strong potential for growth because of current demographic trends. Dubai is the most obvious location if you want to develop your IT across the Middle East and Africa. It is a place that attracts top talent. Dubai has great potential, and the healthcare industry is investing heavily in the city.

How would you characterize the government's regulatory framework for the industry?
Making healthcare mandatory was a critical step in the development of this framework. This regulatory change was essential for the marketplace and has helped create a sustainable and forward-looking healthcare insurance market in Dubai. We have partnered with the regulator in Dubai, Dubai Health Authority (DHA), on a couple of initiatives. DHA is likely to push the sector to focus more on a prevention model than a treatment model. The question is how to really change the behaviors of the citizens. This is important for us, and we spread our actions across our relationships with not only our large corporate clients but our SME clients as well. Thanks to our powerful, worldwide presence, we are able to leverage international research on improving health through lifestyle changes.

Can you elaborate on your latest unveiling of new technologies?
When you are doing preventative care, you have many more touch points with your customers. Today, for instance, we do online risk assessments so people can better understand their health status. Through assessment, we provide guidance to people on what behaviors they can change to have the most positive impact on their health. The more we have this discussion, the more touch points are developed between ourselves and our clients. These touch points are mainly online and through our app. Additionally, when someone gets a disease, they must choose the best provider for them. All of this is leveraged by our online presence and technology because it allows us to provide the best service. Data is really critical for us, and it will become more important as we move forward. We need to have a better understanding of long-term healthcare trends and how to address them. We can use data to create a win-win situation for both the customer and the company by improving their health outcomes and reducing our costs. Innovation should be in pursuit of the real goal, which is positively influencing our customers' health. This is a long journey, and it is a process that never truly ends. Being a pure health services company is a huge competitive advantage because all of our investment is driven toward a single goal. We can be much more focused on funding research and transforming lives.

What is at the top of your agenda for the immediate future?
One element is always ensuring constant innovation for the future. We want to ensure we are always one step ahead in terms of our capacity to provide the best health solutions. This means leveraging new technologies. The second element is about expansion. We are targeting 30% growth for 2020. We can grow quickly, and expansion is a critical pillar of our operations. If we want to expand, we must also rely on the developments incumbent upon technological transformation and change. It is a balance between achieving the right growth and making sure that this growth is consistent with innovation and quality of service.