THE CHALLENGE

For decades, a large health insurer had enjoyed dominant market shares in its key regions. The insurer was committed to serving its senior population with supplemental Medicare insurance and had forgone the opportunity to launch new Medicare Advantage products. Intensifying competition in the senior health insurance market had begun to chip away at the client’s market share.

THE DEFT APPROACH

Slipping market share is an issue but it is not a good point from which to begin a market research project. Deft interviewed several of the client’s executives and key managers keeping two questions foremost: “What decisions do you need to make?” and “If you had certain information, what would you do with it?” These questions kept us focused on producing useful and meaningful results. The outcome of the consultative exercise was to identify key questions whose answers would help turn the negative market share trend.

These three questions emerged:

  1. What steps should be taken to attract the largest number of age-ins to the client?
  2. What steps should be taken to keep the largest number of existing customers?
  3. What will motivate the largest possible number of competitors’ customers to switch carriers?

After the questions were identified, Deft designed a consumer telephone questionnaire that flowed out of this framework.

THE RESULTS

Deft’s analysis provided the client with several key findings to develop action plans around:

  • The client must control the conversation about price and cost. When competitors were allowed to focus on low premiums, they gained an advantage. But, when cost sharing was introduced, especially around hospital cost sharing, the client’s product was the winning choice.
  • The client has several important areas of market differentiation and opportunities for market leadership. These included offering market leading dental and vision packages, as well as several online services.

A small segment of the client’s customers were focused on fitness and health. These customers had different needs than customers who were more generally interested in wellness.