Traditional insurance models may not be directly applicable to developing regions. Lalit Baveja explains how Milliman brings its global experience to bear in creating microinsurance services for areas that have unique needs but little collected data.
Lalit Baveja: Microinsurance typically is insurance programs that offer protection to a vulnerable population. And that vulnerability typically is income-related or happens when a particular group is not part of the mainstream and they need some specific programs developed for them. It's very important to understand the local needs, so you need to identify the typical disease patterns there: what are the most prevailing conditions, what are the practice patterns and cost patterns?
It's not feasible to use a model developed for a different country, particularly a U.S.- or U.K.-based model—that would not be feasible to use in a developing country or a specific condition. So you need to develop these models specifically based on the disease patterns, the cost pattern, the practice pattern of that region, particularly in countries where the data isn't very good, where you cannot sit in an office and look at the data and see that, for example, malaria was the most common or pregnancy is a certain rate. You need to look at observations, interviews, other ways of collecting information to identify what the focus or the priorities should be.
Some of these programs actually have huge volumes: state insurance schemes in India would cover something like 140 million people. These are large volumes and I think Milliman provides a contribution to the bigger cause when schemes start expanding and increasing benefits to outpatient cover, preventive care, or chronic disease management. Milliman's global experience has a lot to offer to these initiatives. Milliman can help them achieve the sustainability that they aspire to because we have an understanding of what the best practices are and we have been active in different markets and different phases of development. So we have a lot to contribute to these growing developments.
I've been involved in a few and my clinical team has been involved in some other projects as well, both in India, Africa and in Europe as well. It's so inspiring—it's challenging, it stimulates you, it challenges your ability. I think it's a personal growth thing as well, when you're working on IT systems all day long and you have wonderful coding systems and then you go into a hospital where all they have is a paper register. So how are you going to collect that information? It challenges you and makes you think wider and deeper into what is the priority here, what do I need to focus on. So I think it's a wonderful learning experience. It makes you stronger and completes the experience.