Interview with Arkadiusz Piątek, Country Manager of MediSky International sp. z o.o.
Aleksandra Wysocka: Do people really need international medical packages?
Arkadiusz Piątek: Definitely. More than 80% of Poles are not satisfied with the public healthcare system! We are at the very end in the ranking of the European healthcare systems. The situation is slightly improving but we are still far behind the mid-level countries, not to mention countries such as the Netherlands, Germany, France of the Nordic countries.
We should also remember about Covid-19. Although, the pandemic has waned, we know from our own experience that the situation can be different in autumn. Additionally, there is the war in Ukraine. Poles have taken in a huge number of refugees who should be provided with medical care. We also have to deal with high inflation and staff shortages in the medical sector. The public healthcare system is facing a lot of challenges. The medical subscription, which is highly popular in our country, does not provide appropriate availability and treatment of life-threatening diseases. And here, we have a role to play. International medical insurance that we offer is a perfect solution for those who care about the highest standard of private medicine.
Our policies guarantee access to the most modern clinics in the country and abroad, most effective medicines or cutting-edge treatment methods. International medical insurance means comprehensive care which includes first aid, hospitalisation and outpatient services. Such policies practically ensure medical care from A to Z.
What are your experiences on other markets? Is the situation there similar to Poland?
MediSky is part of the MediHelp Group. We are present in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe where the public healthcare system does not provide professional care of the health and life of their citizens.
We have been operating the longest, namely for more than 20 years, in Romania. It is one of the fastest developing economies in the world. The private medical sector is increasingly strong there. Despite that, Romanian people often get treatment abroad. Around 50% of our sales in this country is generated by the broker channel. The remaining part is own sales, from which more than half is constituted by referrals of our current customers.
In Hungary and Bulgaria, we rely almost completely on cooperation with agents and brokers. Our branches have been present in these countries for seven years. In case of serious diseases, Bulgarian people choose Turkish hospitals and Hungarian people are willing to be treated in Austria.
MediSky has been operating in Poland for five years. The biggest part of sales is generated by our office. We want to establish extensive cooperation with brokers and agents, therefore, we will be present at the XXIV Broker Congress in Mikołajki this year. It will be a great pleasure for us to present our cutting-edge offer.
Who is the insurer of your products?
Our partners are local AXA Partners and international AXA Life & Reinsurance Solutions (previously AXA Global Healthcare) from Singapore. MediSky acts on behalf of the insurer, which allows us to cooperate with intermediaries. MediSky is responsible for sales and customer service and AXA covers insurance risk.
This structure is very good for policy holders because they are serviced by the local office and their treatment costs are secured by one of the biggest and strongest insurance companies in the world. In addition, AXA provides round-the-clock assistance and coordinates processes related to the Second Medical Opinion and Concierge Services.
Who buys such packages most often?
Such packages are bought most often by educated people who care about the quality of their life and health as well as the health of their families. They are often owners of small and medium enterprises who are aware of the risks and consequences of not having adequate medical care in case of loss of health. Also the management boards of large companies constitute our target group. HR Departments bend over backwards to provide their managers with additional benefits which have been a kind of standard for a few years.
International medical care is not only a product that stands out on the market, but also a guarantor of safety for companies whose development depends on the health of their managerial staff. Here we count on brokers and agents with B2B clients in their portfolio who might be interested in our solutions.
How does such a package work?
It is very simple. The customer individually arranges a visit in a medical facility of their choosing in Poland or abroad and pays for everything with our pre-paid card. This product is called the MediSky Health Card because one card includes comprehensive healthcare and an useful payment function. We are planning to depart from plastic cards still this year and enable our customers to pay with their mobile phones thanks to a virtual payment card. If it is not possible to pay by card in a given medical facility, the customer can always pay in cash and receive a refund on their bank account within a few days.
What is the difference between your products and other medical products such as e.g. Best Doctors?
Our products provide comprehensive medical care. It is not only round-the-clock assistance and treatment of life-threatening diseases in hospitals, but also outpatient services. There is no catalogue of services, list of doctors or procedures etc.
Every package has its own annual limit of the sum insured, which is very high in each case and amounts to as much as EUR 2 million. Our customers have complete freedom in choosing the place where they want to be treated. They can, for instance, undergo a complicated surgery in the most modern clinic in Switzerland and continue rehabilitation and further treatment in Poland or in any other country in the world, even in the USA.
In addition, our policies guarantee the coverage for the costs of medicines. In practice, it works in the following way: the customer, after leaving the doctor’s office, can go to a pharmacy and buy medicines, paying for the previous consultation and medicines with the MediSky Health Card. In my opinion, it is the most comprehensive and the most convenient solution on our market.
Do you already cooperate with brokers and agents?
We focus on cooperation with intermediaries because brokers and agents have contact with the customers who constitute our target group. We can offer a unique product which is a perfect complement to their portfolio. There are already first brokers who use our policies. Their positive feedback is very important for us.
More than 85% of our customers renew their policies every year, which proves the stability of the portfolio. We provide full sales and post-sales support to brokers and agents. In order to make the offering process easier for them, we developed an online platform where brokers can create an account and then individually prepare initial policy quotes for their customers.
Our newest project is a training platform called MediHelp Academy. It is a place which provides nice and easy access to knowledge about health insurance, sales techniques or product details. We invite all those interested in cooperation with us to training in our office or online. We issue a certificate for completing the training, which counts for obligatory training hours resulting from the Insurance Distribution Directive (IDD).
What are your plans for the Broker Congress?
Already on the firs day, at 7:00 pm, we invite everyone to the performance of an illusionist at the main Congress room. On Thursday, we will be available all day at our stand in the hotel lobby. The culmination point of our participation will be the lecture by the Managing Director of AXA Life & Health Reinsurance Solutions, Laurent Pochat-Cottiloux, entitled “The role of health insurance in the
post-covid era”. The presentation will start at 11:00 am and will be held in room 5/12. We also planned the drawing of attractive prizes for all participants of this event.
We have never met personally some of our brokers and agents, so we invite them to an individual meeting in room 5/12, where we will be present until the end of the day. As far as I know, also you, Aleksandra, plan to participate in our presentation, which I am very happy about. See you there.
Thank you for the interview.
Aleksandra E. Wysocka