Written by Jane Wang, CEO Optimity
(7 min read)
Research Shows Opportunity for Insurers to Help Improve Customers’ Well-Being
The long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on individual’s mental health will be heavily studied in the years to come. But as countries around the world battle against ongoing strains of the virus, we’ve already captured significant data on the impact COVID-19 has had on the health of North Americans.
Optimity published a Consumer Insights Report “The New Keys to Customer Connection” that examined the overall health and wellbeing of North Americans as of last year. The study included more than 135,000 Optimity users and revealed an opportunity for insurers to provide deeper levels of engagement with their customers who are seeking ways to improve their mental health.
In many cases, individuals have an idea of how they can alleviate stress that’s impacting their mental health, but they’re in need of assistance in helping them accomplish those tasks. For insurers, incorporating mental health wellness as part of your customer experience can be a difference-maker for your policyholders.
Mental Health Concerns Rising During the Pandemic
In recent years, mental health has become a more prevalent conversation in the mainstream media. Thanks in part to athletes and other prominent figures sharing their stories of battles with mental health, there has been a heightened awareness of the seriousness of mental health issues that many individuals face. Star U.S. gymnast Simone Biles withdrew from multiple events at the last Summer Olympics in Tokyo, citing a need to focus on her mental health.
While many have battled mental health issues in the past, COVID-19 has unfortunately led to a spike in those reporting worsening mental health. The number of Americans reporting symptoms of anxiety quadrupled during the pandemic. This is coupled with dramatic increases in associated adverse health outcomes, including reduced sleep, aggravated chronic conditions, and increased alcohol and substance abuse. Additionally, a study by the Angus Reid Institute early in the pandemic found that 50% of Canadians reported that their mental health was worsening.
Now, well into two years of dealing with COVID-19 and various degrees of lockdowns, North Americans are still seeking a return to normalcy. The prolonged nature of the pandemic has exacerbating mental health concerns, and experts expect that there will be a long-term impact on individual’s mental health.
How Can Insurers Address this Mental Health Crisis?
Insurance companies have an opportunity to address the mental health concerns of their policyholders and actively make a difference in helping them feel better at a time when they’re expressing a need. And beyond the pandemic, there’s a clear need to make mental health awareness and support a fundamental offering.
As part of the study, Optimity challenged users with a mental health goal, having them proactively add one stress-relieving activity to their week. The activities users completed demonstrated that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to combat mental health and reduce stress. For some users (14.7%), becoming more active was their go-to stress reliever. As you can see in the graphic below, six different activities all garnered at least 11.5%, showing there are many ways users opted to reduce their stress levels.
While approximately three-quarters of users were able to accomplish their goal, there are challenges that users encountered. Some cited that they didn’t know where to start or they didn’t have enough time.
By creating a unique experience for customers that encourages them to set aside time in their day to accomplish the stress-relieving activities that improve their well-being, insurers can elevate their brand by providing a superior user experience. Setting achievable, micro goals enables users to build and develop healthier schedules that allow them to feel better about themselves.
Are you interested in helping your company make a difference in the mental well-being of your customers? Visit our policyholder engagement page today to learn more! To see more results from our 2021 Consumer Insights Report, you can download it from our website.