- This month we are extending our on-line portfolio to include three new solutions namely in the Life and Health Care Insurance segments along with our new customizable insurance product, Plan Elige, whose rates depend on the preferences, use and habits of the individual policy-holder.
- In terms of our health care services, we are currently attending 12 thousand clients via our on-line advisory and telemedicine channels, whereas our Diagnostic Aids Provider, Ayudas Diagnósticas SURA has processed 9.6% of the country's total COVID tests.
- Since the start of the pandemic, more than 104 thousand SMEs have received on-line technical assistance and personalized support from our Occupational Health and Safety provider, ARL SURA as well as via our Empresas SURA (Sura Enterprise) program.
- Despite the impact of the current contingency, Seguros SURA Colombia has maintained a sound, solvent and liquid financial position for its voluntary and mandatory lines of insurance (ARL (Occupational Health and Safety) and EPS (mandatory health care).
Innovative, customizable solutions, adapted to our post-pandemic environment; telemedicine and oxygen therapy services for our clients and policy-holders; technical assistance for adopting the new biosafety protocols in all 31 productive sectors throughout the country, as well as providing SMEs with personalized counseling are just some of ways that Seguros SURA Colombia has helped to tackle and overcome the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We fully understand our responsibility in helping to revive the country's economy. That is why Seguros SURA Colombia is assisting both private individuals and companies alike with a range of specific measures it is taking on different fronts. For example, we have launched new digital solutions that can be entirely handled on-line thereby catering to today’s new needs; we have provided our assistance in handling the corresponding labor risk in all regions of the country; we have expanded our health care service capacities and implemented well-differentiated service models, while delivering at the same time capabilities with which companies are increasing their competitiveness ", explained Juan David Escobar, Chief Executive Officer of Seguros SURA Colombia.
In spite of the widespread impact that this pandemic has had, the Company has been able to maintain a sound and solvent financial position, thanks to its well-diversified range of solutions, its forward-looking capabilities as a trend and risk management company, its responsible handling of expense, the swift manner in which it adapted its operating model in support of its business continuity as well as the handling of the investment portfolio underpinning the Company’s technical reserves.
Here, the Company has managed to preserve more than 20 thousand jobs and increased the headcount of its health care segment by more than 400. Likewise, we are contemplating investing a total of COP 155 billion this year, of which COP 70 billion has already been deployed as of May, mainly in technology for our on-line advisory and telemedicine services, health care infrastructure, SME support as well as new solutions.
Likewise, our mandatory health care subsidiary, EPS SURA, has transferred a total of COP 884 billion to the clinics and hospitals that form part of its service network since the beginning of the pandemic and shortened payment terms from 2 months to 15 days so as to help drive the liquidity of the Health Care System. On the other hand, our Occupational Health and Safety subsidiary, ARL SURA has spearheaded the delivery of PPE kits throughout the country since April of this year, thereby benefiting more than 9.47 million workers belonging to 1,791 member companies in addition to freelancers in 236 municipalities in 31 Departments, this according to that stipulated by the Colombian Government by means of Decree 488 issued in 2020. Also, our Diagnostic Aids subsidiary, Ayudas Diagnósticas SURA, has processed more than 48 thousand tests, 9.6% of the national total, this based on the latest figures at June 15.
In terms of our voluntary insurance products, the Company has provided financial relief in the amount of COP 212,746 million, benefiting more than 93 thousand clients, through interest forgiveness and payment facilities. Similarly, on its own initiative, the Company has reimbursed a total of COP 30 billion in car insurance, given the decrease in mobility and consequent reduction in risk exposure during the lockdown, prior to the provisions subsequently issued by the Colombian Superintendency of Finance in Circular 021 dated June 5. COP 36 billion corresponding to Mandatory Road Insurance policies shall also be transferred to the Resource Administrator of the General Social Security Health Care System (ADRES in Spanish), pursuant to Decree 800 of 2020.
More solutions for new realities
The pandemic has accelerated the development of new disruptive solutions in terms of their coverage, digital nature, modular terms of validity and associated benefits, all of which have been leveraged by the latest technology. One of these solutions is what we call in Spanish “Plan Elige”, this being a single customizable policy that allows the holder to insure his or her family, pet, home and/or car, customizing its coverage, underlying capital and insured persons based on his or her needs. This solution was evaluated and approved as part of an innovation sandbox initiative sponsored by the Colombian Superintendency of Finance, and is currently at an initial pilot on-line deployment stage.
In June, two more affordable solutions were added to our digital portfolio, both of which can be entirely handled on line while offering lighter coverages thereby responding to the current economic realities of the Colombian people: Salud Digital, our new healthcare initiative, offering on-line advisory services and the option of choosing 3-month terms as opposed to the traditional 12 month terms as well as our life insurance product Más Protegido, 100% handled on line, that offers special coverage so that families are not left unprotected in the face of the difficulties posed by the current situation.
Furthermore, our mandatory health care subsidiary, EPS SURA has launched a Complementary Health Plan for those over 60 years of age, offering easy access facilities and priority medical specialties for this particular segment. It should be noted that in just the first month subsequent to its launching, 1,500 clients took out this, the first car insurance policy in Colombia, offering variable rates depending on monthly usage as well as the driving habits of registered users per vehicle.
Strengthening the business community
Our Empresas SURA program, which provides knowledge and skills to SMEs for handling their strategic risk exposure, has adapted its service capabilities given the current lockdown and extended its scope for reviving the country's business sector while seeking to preserve existing jobs and create new ones.
More than 2,300 Companies have signed up for this free on-line service, consisting of specialized support in areas such as market development, human talent, regulatory issues, technology and financial management. Consequently, this program is helping to overcome this period of uncertainty, which has entailed transforming the traditional production, service and sales models.
Likewise, our Occupational Health and Safety subsidiary, ARL SURA has helped more than 102 thousand companies to adopt biosafety protocols, providing both on-site and on-line advisory services in the field of mental health, as well as managing operating and strategic risk, thereby going beyond the health and safety measures that have been traditionally upheld in the workplace, this based on the specific conditions of each productive sector, along with supplementary advisory services for preventing the spread of the virus.
We also have made available to the public a new microsite, providing information to both private individuals and companies about COVID-19, which in just two and a half months has received more than one million visits. There, the public can find everything they need, from essential self-care measures to sectorial biosafety guidance, self-management tools for SMEs, and an observatory of trends and indications so as to be able to help companies transform themselves given the changes in consumer patterns as well as the economic environment.
Greater health care capabilities
The Company was able to expand its online health care model in record time and now assists 12,000 people on average per day with its on-line advisory and telemedicine services, and is now able to attend all those municipalities which before had no access to specialized medicine. This is a key factor in being able to reduce the spread of the virus, by lowering the number of face-to-face consultations and hospitalizations for nearly 12 million subscribers and policy holders.
The Company shall begin carrying out COVID-19 tests using open-air booths, for people with prior appointments, who do not have their own cars and therefore cannot access the drive thru tests, that is to say those arriving on foot, by motorbike or public transport, this so as to be able to reduce the risk of contagion. This shall begin this week in Barranquilla, Bogotá and Cali, where there is the greatest need. This method shall supplement the drive-thru tests that are currently being implemented, which so far have covered more than 6,900 people in six cities throughout Colombia, with another 30 thousand tests taken at home and another 15 thousand more at our health care facilities.
Similarly, since May 18, home oxygen therapy has been made available in Medellin, Cali, Cartagena and Barranquilla and is scheduled for implementation this week in Bogota, this in order to care for diagnosed patients in their place of residence, thus avoiding further deterioration and the need for hospital or ICU care. Currently, this program covers a total of 911 patients, 45 of whom have already recovered and only 11 have required hospitalization due to pre-existing conditions.
“In spite of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have learned many lessons, allowing us to accelerate our transformation so as to remain relevant in the light of the realities of each company and each person that we attend, while using our strength and commitment to continue contributing to the revival of the country’s economy," concluded Juan David Escobar.