Ian Ranger: Self-help apps are attractive to younger workers and recent graduates

Ian Ranger, head of claims and medical underwriting at Canada Life, discusses the post-pandemic group risk market and the popularity of self-help apps among younger employees.

Related topics:  Meet the Expert,  Canada Life
Tabitha Lambie | Editor, Protection Reporter
19th June 2023
Ian Ranger
"These apps provide a highly flexible way to access support for those worried about talking to someone in-person."
- Ian Ranger, head of claims and medical underwriting at Canada Life

Joining Canada Life in 2008, Ian Ranger has overseen the medical underwriting and claims team for over fifteen years. He believes this role has given him first-hand experience of how insurance can support families during difficult times. “Every day I am mindful of my responsibilities to ensure quality is at the heart of everything we do, and I am fortunate to work for a company that positively demands such focus,” he explained.  

Discussing the main trends in the group protection space since 2020, Ranger highlighted the rising popularity of hybrid working since the pandemic: “I’m more often at my home desk, and my daily routine has significantly changed as a result.”

“Before lockdown, I had started to champion more hybrid working in the belief it should benefit the majority of employees’ work life balance. I still believe in these benefits, but I have also learned that there are knock-on effects which need more thought.

“I had not envisaged the wave of virtual meetings I now surf as the mainstream of my day; I sit locked to my screen for vast periods of time, my movement far reduced compared to previous times,” Ranger continued.

As a result, he believes that we’re witnessing “small changes in claim incidence, but there is much yet to be understood from changes to working patterns and lifestyles before we can assume reported claims will follow past trends.” Therefore, the industry should continue to explore how less movement impacts our health.

In the last three months, RedArc has issued multiple NHS-related warnings. Christine Husbands, commercial director, has said that insurers should offer more support and properly communicate added-value services that may help policyholders manage symptoms, “even if there are problems or delays in receiving a diagnosis or treatment plan.”

READ MORE: RedArc claims insurers must offer support amidst NHS delays in elective and emergency care

Although insurers can’t know exactly what NHS delays mean for the severity of illness or absence, Ranger agreed that added-value services can provide vital support. At Canada Life, customers have exclusive access to 24/7 medical professionals through WeCare as well as the self-help app MyStrength which includes guides for improving health and wellbeing proactivity.

Employers recognise the value of these services, especially self-help apps which Ranger felt were most attractive to younger workers and recent graduates. These apps provide a “highly flexible way to access support for those worried about talking to someone in-person.”  

“We encourage employers to integrate these services into induction sessions as well as find reasons to issue updates to their staff to remind them of the benefits available to them,” Ranger concluded.  

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