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Patrick Watt, Commercial Director of Bupa Global: Huge Market Potential and Our Optimism About High-End Healthcare In China

12 Feb 2020 Source: Sina.com
In a recent interview, Patrick Watt, Commercial Director of Bupa Global, a high-end healthcare business of Bupa, said that in order to meet the needs of Chinese customers, Bupa will, continuously enhance the health benefits of the Global Health Plan, and also provide layered insurance products that cover multiple dimensions of protection and prices through clearly differentiated coverage to meet different needs of individuals, young couples, and families.

Chinese Consumers' Increasing Awareness of Health Insurance Consumption

Patrick Watt, Commercial Director of Bupa Global, told reporters that Chinese consumers' awareness of health insurance consumption is growing, and he believes that the new demand for global health insurance will increase. He pointed out that among numerous insurance providers on the market, Bupa's advantage lies in providing customers with unified and integrated solutions, rather than merely insurance products. According to reports, Bupa was founded in the UK in 1947, is the largest health insurance group in the UK*. Its health insurance operations are present in more than 100 countries around the world with up to 1.4 million direct payment health networks. Patrick Watt indicated that 74% of Bupa's revenue comes from countries outside the UK, an income structure which he believes to be very effective. In terms of business revenue from product lines, 73% of Bupa's revenue comes from health insurance, and about 20% comes from self-operated hospitals, dental clinics, and nursing homes.

In 2017, Bupa opened the first integrated medical center in Guangzhou

Regarding the business layout in China, Patrick Watt said that Bupa established a representative office in Beijing in as early as 2006 that actively explores opportunities to enter the Chinese market. For example, in order to meet Chinese consumers' growing demand for high-quality healthcare services, Bupa has regularly conducted market research to understand the needs of local customers, and cooperated with Alltrust Insurance to provide global health plans for individuals and corporate customers, in combination with its own abundant international resources. Currently, the group can provide five levels of personal insurance products, namely, Ultimate, Elite, Premier, Select and Major, and four levels of group insurance products, namely Gold Superior, Gold, Classic, and Essential, requiring three or more employees of the same company to be insured with each level covering cancer treatment, hospitalization, and outpatient benefits at home and abroad.

Huge Market Development Potential

Nowadays, Chinese consumers are becoming more aware and the market shows great potential. Patrick Watt said Bupa would continue to invest in the Chinese market because he recognizes its huge potential. "At present, we have an operation team in Beijing and a sales and channel management team in Shanghai. In a highly competitive market, we will continue to listen to the voices of consumers and agents and further expand market opportunities in China. For example, we will work more closely with Alltrust to expand our business to more cities other than Beijing and Shanghai.” "At present, we have achieved phased outcomes in the domestic high-end health insurance market. In the future, we will continue to promote the high-end international health insurance business, so that Chinese customers can enjoy a high-level of international healthcare resources. At the same time, we are continuing to develop our group business to assist foreign companies in providing international health insurance for their employees dispatched to China, and also offer global healthcare support for Chinese companies exploring overseas markets. We need a localized management team to open up a national market because health varies from person to person and from country to country. Therefore, it must adapt to the local environment. An open market facilitates communication among people, and while the sustainability and stability of products are key factors, it also concerns many governments. We have a lot of experience in this area, and can introduce our best practices to other countries for reference." He said. When it comes to China's commercial health insurance, Patrick Watt believes that it is still in the early stages of development and will have good development opportunities in the next few years. Meanwhile, he also considers it a good development opportunity for foreign companies to participate in the Chinese market. "This is good for the development of China's insurance industry. The government has provided proper basic health insurance for its people. As people's incomes improve, their demand for healthcare will also increase, and they will seek the best health services. Bupa has been operating in China for 14 years and is also highly attentive to the needs of customers for health services. Therefore, we see that as the Chinese market is getting more and more open, we are even more confident and hopeful for the company's long-term development." Finally, Patrick Watt summarizes three key factors for success in the health insurance: The first is the brand. In the health insurance market, there should be a strong brand. A trustworthy brand will make people feel that you are with them when they need you to be; The second is the distribution channel. Distribution is also very important, as it can continuously provide customers with innovative products, which is also key to our global operations. It is necessary to ensure that users get the right care, at the right price, at the right time. This is also critical for health insurance. The third is cost control. It is necessary to be able to manage health costs on a continuous basis, and to have a deep understanding of the local healthcare ecosystem and regulatory environment. Finally, a localized management team is also needed. This is because healthcare varies from person to person and from country to country. Lastly, Patrick Watt stressed that Bupa, as a global health insurance group from the UK, is particularly optimistic about the Chinese market based on the global layout, and anticipates putting the funds, personnel, and technology accumulated by Bupa in the past 70 years to work. He looks forward to working with local partners in China to provide Chinese consumers with better health insurance services, and to practice Bupa's mission of helping people live longer, healthier, and happier lives.
* Source: Laing Buisson Health Cover UK Market Report 13th Edition, published 16 January 2017, in terms of market share among private medical insurance providers

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