“It’s not just about claiming, it’s about the value that you can offer somebody when they’re overseas as well,” he says.
Integral to that, Austin says, is the development of online capabilities and in August of last year the provider launched its online broker portal, “Cigna Global Intermediary Zone”, allowing brokers to offer the Cigna Global Health Options plan direct to their individual clients.
According to Austin, a “key differentiator” is Cigna Global Health Options' ability to provide full online medical underwriting. The portal also offers a quick quote tool, e-customer fulfilment with all clients’ documents accessible to brokers and their customers within one working day, as well as real time underwriting decisions, providing no further information is required.
“We’re continually enhancing our online services and proposition for customers and brokers alike,” Austin says. “And as well as facilitating e-commerce functionality, we bolster this with our dedicated intermediary support team who have the capability to set-up quotes and policies on an intermediary’s behalf.”
The majority of Cigna Global Health Options' employees are based in an office in Glasgow, Scotland with the operational and customer service team housed in the provider's office just down the road in Greenock. Furthermore, Cigna Global Health Options is currently hiring a European business development manager (BDM) – who will look to support intermediaries in the UK – and also has dedicated BDMs based in the US, Hong Kong and Singapore, Austin explains.
“Our view is very much that you get a local person who has the relationships,” Austin says. “Every market’s different in terms of legal complexities and its healthcare system, so it’s about having a local guy who truly understands the market and the brokers.”
Austin views his own role as being “the glue” that holds the Cigna Global Health Options proposition together.
“I want to make sure that my guys in the [relevant] country can get on and do the job which they need to do, which is working through the brokers,” he says. “My job is to make sure that the right products, the right services are in the market and then when we’re looking at doing deals just to make sure I’m touching the right points within the Cigna businesses. It does all start on a local basis, guys working together and it is supported on an international basis.”
Austin himself spends a good deal of time liasing with brokers – and other business partners – around the globe.
Cigna Global Health Options works with a number of third parties around the world, including Grand United Corporate Health in Australia, Saudi Arabian Insurance Company in the Middle East, Medical Administrators International in France, CZ in the Netherlands, China Merchants Group in China and TKK in India.
“I do still spend a lot of time fronting pitches, in front of brokers, in front of banks and insurance companies because again it’s a huge opportunity through these third party affiliates to sell international healthcare,” he says.
“My background has always been sales and marketing,” he continues. “That’s my life, I love sales and marketing. And my job now as general manager is to take a business line and grow it across multiple lines across international businesses. The forefront of any business is about growing sales.”