Q&A: Unum’s Interactive Approach to Helping Customers Navigate Healthcare Reform

The carrier’s “pay or play” tool provides customers and prospects an interactive guide through the requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

(Start page of Unum’s pay-or-play tool for navigating insurance decisions related to the ACA.)

Engagement is key to beginning a sales conversation, and insurers are increasingly utilizing visually compelling online experiences as a way of making the often dry subject of insurance compelling. With its new “pay or play” suite of tools, Unum (Chattanooga, Tenn.) is making not only insurance but also healthcare reform more intelligible and easier to digest. The tools use intuitive, simple interaction to guide customers and prospects through the complex issues employers face in making insurance-related decisions forced by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Insurance Innovation Reporter caught up with Bethany Branon, Unum’s AVP of digital marketing to discuss the tools.

Insurance Innovation Reporter: Tell us a little about the genesis of this interactive tool; why did you take this approach the challenges employers face with healthcare reform?

Bethany Branon, AVP, Unum.

Bethany Branon, AVP, Unum.

Bethany Branon, Unum: Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, we have been focused on providing timely and relevant material to support our customers as they consider reform.  We realize that the law is both complicated and evolving, so it was important to create materials that could be updated quickly. The digital format was the best solution. The interactive nature of the pay-or-play tool and timeline allow users to get a depth of understanding while walking through the process as it pertains to them. The infographic allows for a quick view of the landscape in a very consumable manner.

IIR: What’s the basic concept of the pay-or-play tool? What kind of user interaction do they facilitate?

BB: The pay-or-play tool is really a decision tree, designed to allow users to step through an if/then scenario that relates directly to their business. The tool doesn’t offer advice, but rather acts as an interactive guide through requirements of the Affordable Care Act. It is important that we stay very true to the decision process of the employer. In this case, technology and innovation are helping us to deliver what our customers truly need, in a format that is most effective.

IIR: Whom did you develop the tool for, and how did you decide what to include?

BB: The tools were created as a resource for both our existing customers as well as prospective customers. The decisions around health care reform are complicated. Our goal was to create an intuitive and simple decision tree to help customers navigate through this decision process. In developing these, we worked with both brokers and employers to validate the need and test the worthiness of this tool. As a result, we’ve created a valuable resource that is as accessible as possible to our clients and broker partners, through online and social media channels.

IIR: How does the tool fit in with Unum’s concept of customer engagement? What are some other online tools Unum has or is planning to develop?

BB: Benefits issues that are important to our customers are important to us. And no issue has been more dominant – or more demanding – than the Affordable Care Act. Although Unum’s benefits products are not directly affected by reform, the company has taken an active role in helping employers evaluate the full effects of health care reform on their benefits and their businesses.

As the benefits industry focuses on reform, there is an even greater need to educate employers and employees about the importance of other financial protection benefits and how they can be used to help fill gaps in coverage that medical insurance does not address.

Creating these tools, sharing information and engaging in conversation all add value for our customers and reflect our focus on consultative support for our customers.  We are listening to what our customers tell us they need, and building programs and tools to address these needs. From responsive websites to online tools and apps, we are working to ensure we deliver the right solutions.

Below: Infographic from Unum’s pay-or-play tool illustrates the decision-tree as steps along a journey.


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