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Cigna Rebrands as Individual-Centric

Cigna CIO says that the company's redefined focus on the individual customer will permeate every project the health insurer's IT organization will undertake.

Mark Boxer
Mark Boxer

Cigna (Bloomfield, Conn.) has launched GO YOU, the biggest advertising campaign of the company's history. But the individual-focused message it touts is more than just sloganeering, according to the health insurer's CIO Mark Boxer, who says that the focus on the individual rather than the generic customer will guide Cigna's technology initiatives.

"In many cases branding efforts are simply aspirational, but we've already begun walking the walk before talking about it," Boxer asserts. "Our focus on the individual will permeate every project we do in IT."

The GO YOU campaign is one of several transformative initiatives that Cigna says will enhance the way the company does business with its millions of customers worldwide. In its effort to "address the needs of individuals and helping them take control of their healthcare," Cigna will hire 500 new healthcare professionals -- 200 in Connecticut alone -- and other service personnel; it will launch new mobile applications and establish social media connections through Facebook and Twitter; and it will offer online tools that the insurer says will help improve health and lower costs.

The tenor of the campaign may be gauged by ebullient language at the company's renovated website, introducing the new strategy:

At Cigna we want to inspire you to be true to your self, in all your fantastically, amazingly, remarkably human glory. The way we see it, being your true self is the first step to being truly healthy.

That's not just our ad campaign. That's what we believe. We'll treat you like a unique individual, the living, breathing person behind the number on your card. We'll listen carefully to what's going on in your life, so we can help you be 100% you.

Boxer sees the campaign as a development beyond the more typically cost-focused efforts of insurers associated with the consumer-directed healthcare movement. He adds that it involves a level of distinction that goes beyond traditional customer segmentation along demographic lines to one based on novel factors of culture, lifestyle and state of health. He adds that the new strategy is an expression of CEO David Cordani's mantra "Go global, go deep, go individual."

"We've looked at the literature about what's important to customers, and learned that 75 percent of consumers attach importance to individuality and being able to express themselves in their relationships with their health plan," Boxer says. "We believe this focus on individuality will enable us to break away from the competition and make us unique among our peer competitors."

Among the technology-related initiatives associated with the new strategy, Cigna will continue to invest in its web portals, seeking to deepen the personalized experience they deliver, as well as adding mobile capabilities and other features that seek to enable customers to interact according to their preferences. Cigna will also continue to invest in data-, analytics- and CRM-related technologies, which Boxer says will allow Cigna to better understand the individual customer and engage in what he characterizes as appropriately intimate ways. The insurer will also invest in clinical tools designed to identify care options through interaction at what Boxer calls appropriate touch points.

"We are deploying iPad-based remote mobile tools not just in clinical offices but in employer settings and other locations to run intelligence healthcare," says Boxer. "We'll be able to gather health risk assessment information and execute health analytics at places such an employer to do real-time risk assessments as well as pre-populate clinical tools."

Information technology is fundamental to being able to transcend more traditional approaches to disease management, Boxer stresses. "If you put the emphasis on the individual, it requires much more granular understanding not only about care but about the individual," he explains. "Having that data with the analytics to mine it at different touch points is really what it's about."

There is nothing new in the mere use of such technologies for disease management and many other aspects of health insurance and healthcare, Boxer acknowledges, but he insists that Cigna is going to a new level.

"To deliver a truly individualized experience, you need to think not only about the individual customer but other stakeholders that form the experience for that individual, end to end," Boxer says. "Many health plans trying to be more customer-centric, but we're looking at it as a total guide in terms of everything we do."

"Ours is not just a brand campaign, it's a strategic reorientation to focus completely on the individual," Boxer declares. "I think there will be skepticism. But people will watch the actions of out company, the investments we make, and they will see if we indeed are treating the customer as an individual."

Anthony O'Donnell has covered technology in the insurance industry since 2000, when he joined the editorial staff of Insurance & Technology. As an editor and reporter for I&T and the InformationWeek Financial Services of TechWeb he has written on all areas of information ... View Full Bio

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