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New Survey: Health Care Industry Trends and the Outlook of Business Owners [Infographic]

The pandemic has forced health care business owners to embrace new ways to meet the health and safety needs of patients in the U.S. New Agent Authority research conducted by Nationwide revealed two-thirds of health care business owners faced negative impacts from COVID-19 largely due to adverse effects to their total cost of operations and total revenue.

Despite these setbacks, business owners shared optimism for a near-term recovery as vaccines began rolling out and a sense of normalcy came into sight. Nearly 60% of business owners said they expect the economy to improve and 73% said their revenue will improve in the next six months.

“From senior living and assisted living facilities to emergency shelters and addiction treatment centers, health care organizations face unique and vast insurance, operational and regulatory challenges,” said Cheryl Tamasitis, regional vice president of Specialty Care at Nationwide. “The pandemic has emphasized the need for specialized agents who can proactively guide clients through the exposures they face today and help them prepare for the challenges of tomorrow.”

Employee health, business planning among top concerns for health care business owners
Business and employee concerns are top-of-mind for many health care business owners as a result of the health and economic impacts of COVID-19. A quarter of business owners also reported an increase in mental health issues or opioid usage amongst both patients or community members, and employees or volunteers.

The pandemic has also driven home the need for increased planning, as a quarter or more of business owners lacked contingency plans to maintain operations through shutdowns (25%), proper technology to accommodate social distancing needs (26%), or financial plans to account for a recession (28%).

To address these concerns, 81% of health care business owners say they’ve changed their operations to be more efficient and about 9-in-10 have adopted new strategies to maintain operations. These changes include an increased reliance on technology, as business owners are relying more on wearables (80%), Internet of Things devices (79%), telemedicine or teletherapy (78%) and vehicle telematics (77%) since the pandemic began.

“As health care organizations lean more on technology, agents should be talking to them about add-on coverages like cyber insurance to protect against cyber threats that could compromise their business and confidential patient information,” said Tamasitis.

Insurance protections top of mind
Health care business owners are paying closer attention to insurance due to COVID-19. Over the past year, 78% considered changing their insurance company and 3-in-4 amended at least one of their policies. Four-in-10 also spoke with their agent about risk management and loss control solutions.

“Business owners are looking to their agents and carriers for specialized loss control and risk management support,” said Tamasitis. “Nationwide’s Loss Control Services team works with agents to help tailor our tools and resources to meet client needs, such as implementing our Vantage 360 Telematics program to help business owners improve the safety and efficiency of their fleet operations.”

Nearly 90% of business owners also indicated there’s an opportunity for insurance agents with vast knowledge, education and training in their industry who can meet their customized needs. While 87% would prefer to work with an agent with deep knowledge in their industry, 78% believe it’s difficult to find one. Still, 8-in-10 say insurance agents provide them with the best price, offer assurance they have the right coverage, and regularly check in to make sure their needs are met.

Nationwide helps agents meet health care customer needs
Nationwide helps agents deliver extraordinary care to their health care clients through advanced industry expertise across underwriting, loss control services and claims. Specialized programs for agents, such as Nationwide’s Human Services Agent Certification Program, offer unmatched training sessions to address important risks, solutions and trends in the human services industry.

Nationwide’s Loss Control Services dedicated team offers subject matter experts with industry backgrounds, including registered nurses and nursing home leadership, to assist clients in-person or virtually with a wide variety of risk management issues including clinical, transport and life safety. Nationwide’s experts have been in clients’ shoes, understand the realities facing today’s health care business owners and can speak their language.

“Nationwide is also focused on helping agents elevate their expertise and sales effectiveness with resources like the Commercial Insight Center and Agent Blog, which host articles and resources for agents with the latest trends in health care and sales tactics and insights to help them grow their business,” said Tamasitis.