Supplemental Insurance: Towing the Line

Sometimes, even experts need training. Because the supplemental insurance product is a somewhat rarified topic for carriers and regulators, Exchange attendees were lucky to have expert representatives from Aflac and SureBridge on tap to discuss the product, the client, the importance of and, of course, complaints about the supplemental insurance product.  Joni Breault, Senior Compliance Analyst for Aflac and Taryn Risucci, Vice President for Supplemental Operations for SureBridge led us through the information…

Supplemental insurance is an amazing product, especially in today’s economy when critical-illness costs cause more than 60 percent of all bankruptcies. Simply put, supplemental insurance provides cash benefits for specific illnesses or occurrences. The intent of the product is to bridge a gap and cover expenses not covered by major medical insurance—a vastly different product. Supplemental pays on diagnosis, not on salary or income, and permits the client to spend the funds at will.

Supplemental coverage provides significant cash for specified events, comes with a low cost and has not-aggressive underwriting standards.  Multiple types of supplemental products are offered. Yet, as with any insurance product, complaints occur.

About complaints
In general, the product line experts noted most complaints are triggered by customer confusion—customers have a strong understanding of health insurance and do not have a strong understanding of supplemental insurance.  Other top consumer issues were identified as consumer lack of understanding about waiting periods, pre-existing conditions and deductibles. Both panelists noted their companies were working to establish stronger educational programs to help manage customers’ expectations and to enhance understanding.  To that end, point-of-sale education and outreach clarification were cited as the primary opportunities to work with the consumer to stop complaints before they happen.

And yet
Supplemental coverage is a valuable product and yet, as with all forms of insurance, the incidence of fraud is growing—and the cost of fraud affects everyone (see article on insurance fraud in this issue). The cost to the supplemental carrier is, of course, monetary.  However, the unseen costs include negatively impacting the reputation of the product and carrier.
The best part of the presentation?

Interestingly, in this large group of insurance professionals, the number of individuals walking up to the panelists to thank them for the information was astonishing.  Insurance is a complex industry with myriad products and services—learning a little more about one such product proved to be illuminating for all.

(Please login to access this link) to view Breault’s presentation

(Please login to access this link) to view Risucci’s presentation

Joni Breault
Sr. Compliance Analyst
1932 Wynnton Rd.
Columbus, GA  31907

Taryn Risucci
VP, Supplemental Operations
9151 Boulevard 26
North Richland Hills, TX  76180

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