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Q&A: Inside Humana's Mobile Strategy with CIO Brian LeClaire

The former I&T Elite 8 honoree says there are four key angles to customer interaction that demand insurance technologists' attention.

Health insurance CIOs have a lot on their plates with the shifting landscape around the affordable care act. But that's not preventing Humana CIO and one-time Insurance & Technology Elite 8 honoree Brian LeClaire from remaining intimately involved with one of the company's key corporate initiatives: mobile excellence.

Humana sees mobile as a key component of its customer interaction strategy, as well as an important component of its wellness initiatives that aim to keep policyholders health and keep claims down, LeClaire explains. I&T caught up with him for a deep dive into mobile strategy at a big health insurer.

Brian LeClaire, Humana
Brian LeClaire, Humana

Insurance & Technology: Humana recently relaunched its MyHumana mobile app. How does the relaunch figure into your mobile strategy?

Brian LeClaire, Humana: For us there are two main thrusts. First we want to enable our care delivery capabilities. This means providing a coordinated clinical experience across the whole health care ecosystem. Second, we are striving to build trusting relationships with people and provide a personalized, connected experience that enables them to achieve their best health. It's about leveraging mobility to enable positive health interactions.

I&T: What is new about the app?

Brian LeClaire: We wanted to enhance the most needed capabilities with an eye toward making them simple and easy to use. We’re focused on responsive design and the idea of creating a common framework that can be used across devices. From our perspective, we've moved more towards the device capabilities. An example might be when you're doing a physician look-up. You're able to interface into the mapping application. We also built in elements that allow us to do A/B testing to help us understand which features are used the most.

I&T: How does your mobile strategy lead you down a path of adopting and implementing more next-generation technologies overall?

Brian LeClaire: There are four very large tech-based trends that most industries need to embrace: mobility, cloud, social and analytics. People establish what I call “mobile ecosystems”: it's share-where-you-are; badges, notices and alerts, for example; and many people embrace those in various ways. If you were to look at someone's smart phone and review the apps that he or she has downloaded onto it, you'd likely be able to tell a lot about the individual based on the companies that have been included in their personal ecosystem. Engagement in such personal ecosystems is a must in today's business environment. We believe Humana needs to be relevant in that space.

I&T: Does that impact the partners you work with?

Brian LeClaire: It would be great if folks were using our mobile capabilities directly with Humana, but they have personal relationships with their mobile ecosystem and not necessarily with us. It's about meeting the consumer where their health is. We want to make it easy for them to take their activity on their Garmin heart bands or FitBit pedometers and get points in our HumanaVitality gamification, rewards and incentive capability. If they have a FitBit device, they can register those steps with HumanaVitality. Our strategy over time is to become more closely allied with the right partners so those capabilities would be directly embedded inside their application.

I&T: So you see a lot of potential to increase customer retention by tying the mobile strategy to your rewards program?

Brian LeClaire: It all goes back to our emphasis on our dream of helping people achieve lifelong well-being. So how do people engage today? It is a lot about these individual economies and personal ecosystems. How does tech enable you to be successful in those realms? We are seeing more adoption, and we are expanding the nature of what we do.

Nathan Golia is senior editor of Insurance & Technology. He joined the publication in 2010 as associate editor and covers all aspects of the nexus between insurance and information technology, including mobility, distribution, core systems, customer interaction, and risk ... View Full Bio

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