New digital health player. Health insurer slowdown. Microsoft + Genomics.
Insure yo’self before you wreck yo’self
In the first digital health newsletter, we talked about an interesting trend we picked up about life insurance companies investing in digital health, noting PokitDok receiving investment from Guardian Life Insurance via their venture arm and MassMutual recently partnering with Human Longevity to provide whole genome sequencing to its customers.
Life insurers are an interesting new entrant into the healthcare space, mostly because they’re one of the few players in the area that has an incentive to maximize their customers’ long-term health outcomes. If you’re proactive and stay healthy, then you typically live longer (and it should be obvious why that’s good for life insurers).
We chatted with Gareth Ross, MassMutual’s Chief Digital and Customer Experience Officer, about their partnership with Human Longevity and increasing interest in digital health. MassMutual Ventures has been consistently active in private markets in the past few years and already made a few bets in 2017 (investor profile snapshot below).
The full interview can be found here, but here’s an excerpt:
—— Why are life insurers interested in genomics? What is the ultimate promise of developments like the Human Longevity partnership for the industry?
I can’t speak for the entire industry but, for MassMutual, our involvement in this partnership is aimed at promoting further innovation and helping people get access to information that could potentially help them – and the broader community – live longer and healthier lives. This is part of our commitment to overall well-being, and is a means of expanding our innovative offerings to our customers. Those who participate can potentially find out if they have genetic issues that predispose them to certain conditions. HLI won’t share this information with MassMutual but it will be communicated to the individual’s physician and it may be useful in treating / preventing disease.
—— Speaking Of Insurance…
We took a look in the CB Insights database to see where health insurers have been investing in private markets. You can find our full research here.
Despite the fact that the regulatory landscape is in flux, a few tenets (among others) of the healthcare system won’t change for insurers:
We’re moving towards value-based + preventive care
Improving collaboration between the stakeholders in patients’ health improves outcomes
Chronic disease patients need the most management and drive the most costs
Carriers need to find ways to attract customers and differentiate their offerings
Most of the private market investments that health insurers have made are along these lines. What might change is their pace of investment depending on how regulation shakes out. Looking at this deal search from the platform, the private market activity of these insurers has remained relatively steady since 2012 but 2017 is off to a very slow start.