In this, the third of our 4-part series of insurance-focused articles on cancer, Dr. Achim Regenauer, Chief Medical Officer, presents a high-level overview of targeted cancer therapy – a catch-all term for a spectrum of innovative new cancer therapies that are improving the outlook for patients and moving us closer to precision medicine – and its impact on Life & Health insurers.
Dr. Regenauer’s content is presented in a concise bulleted format – so there’s no need for you to wade through complex medical descriptions or interpret sensationalised headlines.
Alongside the observations, Bryce Shepherd, Head of Capabilities Development, Life & Health APAC, adds valuable market insights and solutions relating to how the industry can adapt to these changes to ensure that our products and services stay relevant, valued and sustainable over the next decade.
The movement to precision medicine, and in this case precision oncology, is an exciting and significant development, offering cancer patients (expanding) additional medical options for improved treatment outcomes and even recovery. At the same time, the Life & Health industry is presented with both opportunities and challenges:
The opportunity lies in how Life & Health insurers incorporate product redesigns and proposition services to make targeted cancer therapy more accessible and affordable. If achieved, treatment success rates should correspondingly improve and fewer severe cancers develop, increasing the value of protection products to the customer and (through the right benefit payout design) reducing the cost to the insurer.
There are also challenges. These revolve around the uncertainty in the trend level caused by the availability of new drugs/therapies and their impact on existing product definitions. After a drug is approved, there are understandably ‘spikes’ in claiming due to the availability. Herein lies the challenge to design the benefit to incorporate a constantly changing available therapies list, whilst also ensuring product sustainability.
With the speed of advancements in targeted cancer therapies and their market regulatory approvals, a close eye should be kept on all developments to maintain alignment between medical advancement, product and pricing revisions. See more on this in the following sections.
As new treatments take time to become more standard, their costs remain high, often leaving them out of financial reach for the majority.
Can we lower the barrier of cost by designing a new cancer benefit / cancer product? This is the role of (re)insurance, i.e. to collaborate, spread risk and ensure sustainability and affordability.
PartnerRe has made in-roads by developing an original definition to cover targeted therapy – please contact us to discover more about this solution.
Looking forward to an even more promising future, it’s important to recognise that it remains unknown as to when further new treatments will become available, to whom and at what cost, and to endeavour to create products that accommodate the unknowns (are future-proofed).
One of the key roles the insurance industry plays is to improve the accessibility of medical advancement to society. This is where an informed, ongoing redesign of treatment or severity benefits will allow products to become more relevant to the customer and maintain the alignment between event, financial outlay and benefits.
PartnerRe has a strong track record on product innovation. We have already made in-roads in product design for advances like this. We firmly believe that this approach to future-proofing products will be valued by customers.
We are excited by this challenge and are backed by our global medical experts on the latest available therapies.
There are solutions waiting to be created and we very much look forward to working with you on them.
We hope you found this overview helpful.
Don’t miss the next article in this series on cancer classification, “Part 4: Genomic Sequencing of Tumours – Driving all New Developments in Cancer Medicine”, find out how genomic sequencing is the key enabler for doctors to better diagnose and identify the appropriate drugs, therapies and/or clinical trials for patients – coming out soon.
Our approach is one of partnership, shared expertise and the creation of success for our clients.
We look forward to discussing these trends and concepts with you, and to turning them into concrete solutions for your business.
Bryce Shepherd, Head of Capabilities Development, Life & Health, APAC
1 The spread of cancer cells to other organs of the body.
2 PartnerRe 2021 Cancer Series. Part 2: Cancer Diagnostics – Earlier Detection & Impact on Incidence.