Big tech companies could be seen as either a threat or an opportunity for partnership by the established insurance industry.
For some time it was not certain in which area of insurance they would make their entry or when it would occur.
The insurance industry has been nervously tracking big tech companies including Google, Amazon, and Apple in the belief they might enter the insurance market — and now they have.
Amazon announced its collaboration with Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan to create a healthcare company to serve its US employees.
Apple updated its health app, enabling US customers to see their medical records such as allergies, conditions, immunisations, lab results, medications, procedures, and vitals on their phones.
This was designed to facilitate the relationship between customers and medical centres. Apple already has the Apple Watch.
A month after Amazon’s announcement, Apple announced that it is preparing to launch a network of AC Wellness medical clinics for its employees and their families in spring 2018.
Apple chief executive Tim Cook recently described the healthcare industry as an area where the company could make a “meaningful impact”.
News of AC Wellness arrived months after reports claimed Apple was considering the purchase of Crossover, an in-house clinic startup that counts Apple and Facebook among its customers.
Google’s sister company Verily has reportedly been in talks with insurers bidding for health insurance contracts. Notably, in 2016 the company proposed a joint venture with Oscar Health.
The race into US healthcare among alternative providers has truly begun, but each has a different approach.
Amazon has opted to tackle the healthcare market using its power as a large US employer to drive market change, such as lowering healthcare costs and improving services for employees.
Apple seems to be concentrating on creating a more connected service between customers and healthcare providers. It is positioning itself as a potential partner for healthcare providers and healthcare insurers.
Google, which is still feeling out the market, is looking for partnerships. It could see itself in the role of an insurance distributor.
These tech companies are highly influential brands, have masses of consumer data and resources, and are known for providing exceptional customer experiences.
If the established industry chooses to fight the interlopers, it may not win.