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Discovery spreads its wings in the Asian market with Am...

Business Maverick

JOINT VENTURE

Discovery entrenches its presence in the Asian market with Amplify Health

Jonathan Broomberg will straddle two roles – heading Amplify Health and maintaining his current role as chief executive of Vitality International. (Photo: Sebabatso Mosamo / Sunday Times)

The new joint venture will be operational across Asia, excluding China, Hong Kong and Macau, where Discovery has an exclusive partnership with the Ping An Group through its shareholding in Ping An Health Insurance.

Discovery is extending its reach into the Asian market via a joint venture, Amplify Health, with the AIA Group, which will launch in April.

Amplify Health will deploy a range of health technology assets and proprietary data analytics to help AIA improve claims performance and reduce operational costs.

Discovery’s chief executive, Adrian Gore, says the group has built up unique and powerful health insurance, wellness and health management capabilities, made up of considerable IP, technology, data analytics and subject matter experts over the past three decades. 

“All these learnings have manifested in an end-to-end shared value healthcare stack that will be shifted into Amplify to… build a significant business across the region and make a positive societal impact.”

AIA is a major player in the Asian private healthcare market, providing life, health and wellness solutions to more than 39 million policyholders and more than 16 million group life insurance members.

Jonathan Broomberg will straddle two roles – heading Amplify Health and maintaining his current role as chief executive of Vitality International.

Speaking to Business Maverick from London on Tuesday, he said he would be dividing his time between Johannesburg and Singapore, where Amplify Health will be headquartered. 

“We will be recruiting in South Africa as we expect to have a large team of data scientists and a tech team at Discovery Place in Sandton,” he says.

Broomberg expects the venture to lead to the creation of between 100 to 200 South African jobs over the next one to two years and adds that the company will also be recruiting in Singapore, where the bulk of the job creation will occur. 

The two companies already enjoy a working relationship that has lasted almost 10 years and, up to now, has focused on the integration of AIA’s life insurance products with AIA Vitality across the group’s businesses in Asia. Since its launch in Singapore in 2013, AIA Vitality’s presence has expanded to Australia, Hong Kong, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines and Thailand.

Amplify Health will be well positioned to respond to market trends affecting the health and wellness service industries in Asia, namely ageing populations, increased digital adoption and healthcare supply constraints.

Total healthcare expenditure across AIA’s markets is expected to exceed $4-trillion in 2030. By then, the Asian middle class is expected to number roughly 2.6 billion, and this generation is expected to be significantly more engaged with improving their personal health than previous generations. 

Discovery is confident that consumers will continue to focus on wellness and disease prevention, leveraging technologies such as wearables, activity and fitness trackers, and growing the market in Asia by more than double compared with pre-pandemic levels. 

According to the Asia-Pacific Frontline of Healthcare Report 2022, consumers are already more proactively managing their wellbeing, with 80% actively engaged in health maintenance and lifestyle changes and nearly 50% using digital health and remote care services.

Digital healthcare adoption has accelerated because of the pandemic, with 96% of insurers in Asia-Pacific indicating that their members now use telehealth to access primary physician/general practitioner services. Adding to this, the population in parts of Asia is ageing, with close to 850 million people in the region predicted to be over the age of 60 by 2030.

Commenting on the joint venture, Lee Yuan Siong, AIA Group chief executive and president, says the company sees an urgent need for better, simpler and more affordable healthcare, on the back of an expanding protection gap for the growing population in the region. 

“These factors, combined with the fundamental drivers of growth in Asia, present an extraordinary opportunity. Amplify Health is the natural next step in our journey from payor to partner, enabling us to play a leading role in shaping the transformation of the development and delivery of healthcare in Asia,” he says.

Amplify Health is expected to produce the following outcomes:

  • Greater access to the right providers at the right cost, with improved health outcomes and empowerment through behavioural change programmes.
  • Payors and corporates will have access to better health insurance and wellness products, improved claims quality, advanced risk management capabilities and reduced administrative costs.
  • Healthcare providers will transform patient experience and satisfaction through world-class digital services and insights, leading to enhanced decision-making, greater alignment with payors and better medical outcomes.
  • Pharma and med-tech companies will improve clinical programmes through enriched real-world data and advanced digital tools, leading to lower treatment costs and new therapies.

Subject to approval by the South African Reserve Bank, Discovery Group will own 25% of the joint venture’s equity, with 75% owned by AIA. BM

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