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Walmart Adds Health to Insurance Push

The retailer has expanded its agency relationship to include health insurance quotes.

Walmart, the retail giant that partnered with AutoInsurance.com earlier this year to provide auto quotes in its stores, is expanding the initiative to include health insurance as well. The company is working with DirectHealth.com, owned by the same parent company as AutoInsurance.com, to launch Healthcare Begins Here, an in-store program designed to educate customers on health insurance options.

While being a broker itself, DirectHealth also manages relationships with insurance agents. Customers can compare coverage options from Medicare or public healthcare exchanges through online, phone, and in-store services. As many as 2,700 Walmart stores will be staffed by independent, licensed health insurance agents from DirectHealth.com who can help customers enroll.

"Our customers have told us that there is too much complexity when it comes to understanding their health insurance options," said Labeed Diab, SVP and president, health and wellness, Walmart US, in a statement.

The company that owns DirectHealth.com and AutoInsurance.com, Tranzutary Insurance, is a subsidiary of Tranzact. Walmart's inroads into insurance began in 2012 with a partnership with MetLife. Other retailers have also taken on insurance distribution in the interceding years, including Overstock.com.

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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Byurcan
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Byurcan,
User Rank: Author
10/13/2014 | 9:37:27 AM
Re: Walmart a financial services company?
As metioned, Wal Mart is already heavily invovled in fianncial services. They offer check cashing and money order services, not to mention their Bluebird prepaid product. Now they're looking to get into auto loans. I was ata  conference last year and the former CEO of Wal-Mart was a keynote speaker. He said onbe of their primary custometr bases are immigrant families who are unbanked, who literally carry a bag of cash into Wal mart to do their weekly shopping, and the company realized their was a large unbanked population they could cater to and create financial products for.
mscunziano
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mscunziano,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/7/2014 | 8:50:34 AM
Re: Walmart a financial services company?
The concept of selling insurance at a large retailer has been around for a long time and tried by various big retailers and wholesale clubs.  Health Insurance is a natural extension and with Walmart's capability to segment and target their market they should be successful.  I wonder why Walmart would go with "Checking" accounts in todays world of cards (credit, debit and prepaid), email payments and mobile account management solutions.  It seems that for a lower middle income audience a prepaid card that is reloadable with an APP (online or mobile) would be a more cost effective, secure and user friendly solution than a checking account.

Michael

 
KBurger
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KBurger,
User Rank: Author
10/6/2014 | 3:49:38 PM
Walmart a financial services company?
There is a lot going on with Walmart right now around financial services. In addition to this health insurance-related announcement, Walmart announced recently it is going to offer checking accounts to consumers. Granted, these are targeted to relatively low-income, under/unbanked consumers, but clearly Walmart think there is growth potential with that segment and must believe it has the technology (analytics, risk assessment, etc.) to understand and manage that segment. And if the retailer is successful with that segment, who's to say management won't decide to broaden to more middle-income customers?
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