Leading International Health insurance provider, Cigna, have released their first insights into the impact of Covid-19, in partnership with Kantar a leading data and insights business. Cigna’s global healthcare footprint includes operating domestically in a number of markets, providing Business Health Insurance products, as well as their International Health Insurance offering. They reviewed five themes with 10,204 people across 8 locations (China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Spain, Thailand, UAE, UK and the USA) between January and April 2020.

Here is our breakdown of the main findings and conclusions from the study.

Key findings

Well-being index:

  • While the financial outlook has, as you would expect, fallen, people feel they have been able to maintain their current standard of living.
  • Social well-being indices have also declined, however within that work and family well-being indicators have stayed broadly consistent, with work well-being supported by improved training and a better work/life balance during the pandemic.
  • The UK saw the largest drop in social well-being (given this is home turf, I’m fairly confident in assuming that this has a lot to do with the shutdown of everyone’s local!) While in the UAE social well-being actually improved.

Loneliness:

  • One of the most surprising findings for us was that during lockdown, loneliness actually decreased from 11% in January to 8% in April. I feel that there is something compelling in those numbers that both talks to both how technology can help us stay in touch when we are apart, but also how many people in today’s world feel so disconnected day to day. The largest declines in loneliness were also found in the countries that had experienced the strictest lockdown, namely the UAE, Spain and the UK. I’m sure there will be some interesting research in the coming months and years which delves into this further.
  • Lockdowns appear to have improved personal relationships as people pull together to get through the pandemic, rising from 69% to 73%

Working from home:

  • People still working have reported working longer hours, however unsurprisingly have valued working at home and feel their working routines may change permanently.
  • Many people said that home working technology has actually improved their relationships with their colleagues
  • Despite working longer hours, job satisfaction has improved.

Virtual Health:

  • Strong interest was shown in virtual health across all locations. 60% of people were interested in using virtual health services
  • Virtual GP appointments were shown to be the most popular with mental health and wellness support following. This reflects a significant increase in provision of virtual doctor services by most International Health Insurance providers over the last few years with the technology now really able to support a global role. Most UK Business Health Insurance products already offer these services as standard.

Workplace wellness:

  • A strong message from the research showed an ‘always on’ culture in many locations with people working longer hours from home and rarely being able to switch off.
  • There is a clear response needed from both employees and employers to create a daily routine in which wellness plays a central role.

New Normal:

  • Most people feel that most of the current changes to live will be temporary, with only 13% believing that life will never be the same again, albeit with a wide split (23% in Spain vs 3% in China and 6% in Thailand)
  • Finance remains the greatest concern on peoples mind. Half of the respondents’ stated that the pandemic will change their financial status.

What this means for you

Cigna go on to highlight their main conclusions from the report for employee health and well-being, including;

  • The importance of checking in regularly with colleagues and friends to show an interest in how they are getting on a lend an ear to concerns they are facing.
  • The technology allowing businesses to keep functioning and people to stay connected is working well, reducing the impacts of isolation, and needs to continue to be supported with the potential to impact how many people work even after the pandemic is over.
  • For employers and employees to be aware of the ‘always on culture’ that and derive from working from home and to better manage routine and working hours to avoid burn out.
  • Keep being visible with team conference calls and have tools to support informal conversations as you would have in the work place to maintain team spirit
  • Take time to investigate and invest in Virtual Health tools, if you don’t provide access to them for your employees already as we know these are popular generally and especially important in the current situation.

Cigna have been on the front foot with their response to handling Covid-19 for both their staff and members, right from the start of the pandemic emerging. That is true across both their UK Business Health Insurance and International Health Insurance, and this report providing insight into the impact of Covid-19 is a further example of why they are one of the leading Private Health Insurance firms globally.