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Lead Consultant:

Tim Lynch
Mr. Lynch founded Info-Lynk Consulting Services in 1985 because of the belief that all too often information is the missing link in health care decision-making.
Read Tim's bio

Publications:

Healthcare Advocacy: Only God doesn’t need an advisor
2008 Care Giver and Early Stage Conference, Edmonton, October 25 2008

Beyond the end of the stethoscope, Richmond Review,
A commentary on the need for integrating low risk private surgical facilities into the Canada's public health system.
March 30 2006

MDs are their own worst enemy, Richmond Review,
A commentary on the battle between Dr. Brian Day and Dr. Jack Burak for Presidency of the Canadian Medical Association.
August 10, 2006

Executive Summary
BC 2003 Forest Fires: A Test of Quality Management in Health Services Delivery

January 30, 2004
Prepared forThe Ministry of Health Planning Victoria, BC & The Interior Health Authority Kelowna, BC
(PDF file size 125Kb)

EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT OF SARS:
A QUANTUM LEAP OR A PARADIGM SHIFT?

Risk Management in Canadian Health Care
VOLUME 5, NUMBER 6
DECEMBER 2003
(PDF file size 469Kb)

SARS in Toronto - Acting locally, reacting globally
Submitted on April 11th 2003 to International Travel Insurance Journal

The Romanow Commission: An Opportunity Lost
Hospital Quarterly Journal Spring 2003
(PDF file size 120Kb)
Background Information

Vaccination Programs in Canada:
Summary of a study conducted by Info-Lynk Consulting in October 1989

Health insurance - don't leave home without it
ITIJ Journal Spring 2002

Primary Care Reform in Ontario: The Emperor Has No Clothes
www.hospitalquarterly.com

Medicare in a modern world
The Vancouver Sun, March 14 2002

American / Canadian relations, post September 11th: accommodation or surrender?
ITIJ Journal
Nov/Dec 2001

Choice in health care
The Globe & Mail
Nov. 12 2001

London, UK Travel Insurance Conference Regulations of Canadian Travel Industry
May 2001

Vancouver Hosts Insurance Summit, Report on meeting of the International Insurance Society 2000 seminar, Vancouver B.C.,

DEBATING THE DATA: Is there an entrepreneurial option to primary-care reform? Medical Post
-May 4, 1999-

HEALTH CARE DELIVERY: Rewarding excellence is the solution
Medical Post
-February 9, 1999-

A Book Review: The Billion Dollar Molecule,
Toronto Biotechnology Initiative, (TBI) Bioscan, June 1998

 

Services / Health Care

Vancouver Hosts Insurance Summit

Note: An edited version of this report was published in the International Travel Insurance Journal www.itij.co.uk

Introduction

Vancouver B.C. Canada, July 9-12 2000, was the venue for the 36th Annual Seminar of the International Insurance Society (IIS). The seminar theme was “The Power of Leadership in the Knowledge Millennium”.  Some 500 senior insurance executives and academicians from 55 countries discussed how the future of insurance is being affected by the Internet, globalization, mutualization, mergers, competition, regulation, and serving an informed customer.

The seminar was held at the Vancouver Conference Center, with its majestic vistas of Vancouver harbour, panoramic views of towering mountain ranges and an impressive outline of an evolving Vancouver City skyline. Between sessions delegates were able to stroll outside in the brilliant July sunshine to take pleasure in this scenery, enjoy the close-up activity of Vancouver harbour with cargo ships arriving from far away lands, seaplanes and helicopters taking off or landing, while watching luxury passenger liners dock along side the Convention Centre.

Notwithstanding the temptation to explore Vancouver, all sessions were fully attended and dialogue was provocative, honest and forthright. Attendance at this seminar can only be compared with being at a smorgasbord of the world’s greatest culinary delicacies and having a very small plate. There was so much to learn and so many people to meet and not enough time.

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A Volcanic Shift

A survey to determine the issues of concern to the CEOs in attendance revealed that “E-Commerce and Technology” had a 25% weighting. “Retaining and Acquiring Talent” had a 17%. “Rapidly Changing Markets, Products and Services” received a 13% with “Effective Distribution” and “Creating Innovative Environments” both gaining 10% weights. Kees J. Storm, Chairman, Executive Board, AEGON N.V. Netherlands, and Chairman of IIS noted that these results were very similar for Asia, Europe, North America and other regions. He commented, “The new technology-accelerated global economy is based on a volcanic shift to where competitive advantage for companies comes from ideas rather than things.

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The Customer is King

The leadership needed to manage change and the expectations of an informed consumer were dominant themes during the seminar. Josei Itoh, Nippon Life Insurance Company, Japan called for visionaries that could “harness the power of humanity by optimizing the scientific and technological development to serve the desire for convenience and comfort, and that could develop international frameworks to serve the desire for peace”. Delegates were reminded that, traditionally, insurance has been more often sold than bought. Robert Mendelsohn, Royal and SunAlliance Group, UK, noted that customer apathy has protected insurance people. He issued the warning that with the Internet “Customer is Mostly King – Know They King.

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A Generational Change?

Gen. Robert Herres, Chairman of the Board, USAA, gave a revealing presentation on pioneering E-Commerce in insurance services. Responding to questions about there a generation gap in the use of the net he noted that many of his retired friends were obtaining the best rates for banking, discount brokers, or insurance using the Internet. Robert Bland, Chairman and Founder of Quotesmith.com, USA, outlined how companies like his are revolutionizing the insurance market. He predicted there would be an explosion in automobile insurance on the Internet when 14 year olds go to get their first insurance experience.

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Insurance Peacocks

The image of the insurance industry as being staid, traditional and conservative was repeatedly challenged. Maurice Lippens, FORTIS, Belgium gave a humorous and informative presentation on change management. He concluded by stating that any company living on past reputation, was like “a peacock that would inevitable become a feather duster”. There will be fewer of brokers in this world of global connectivity. They will be more productive providing such value added services as “channel conflict resolution”. In his presentation “Web versus Agent”, Randy Dumm from Florida State University used a mathematic model to warn that, increasingly, consumers are able to judge the agent’s competence, honesty and integrity.

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Symbiotic Regulations

Sir Howard Davies, Chairman, Financial Services Authority (FSA), UK began his presentation by acknowledging his new role as insurance regulator for the U.K. He then captivated the delegates with a presentation on the future of regulation in the insurance industry. He promoted what can best be described as a symbiotic relationship between regulator and the regulated. The raison d’etre for such a relationship is to assure consumers that they are being honestly served. He described how the approach adopted by FSA acknowledged primacy of strategy in establishing a risk-based regulation structure. He explored future trends in “bancassurance” and “securitisation”. In the emerging global market he acknowledged the potential role of the International Association of Insurance Inspectors. Against several inferences about the Lloyds of London during question period, he pointed out that even Lloyds acknowledged that in the modern insurance market there are no icons. Sir Howard concluded by comparing the “nimbleness” needed in insurance management with the role his son plays as scrumhalf on the school rugby team.

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Innovative solutions

Thom Thompson, President and CEO of the Insurance Corporation of BC (ICBC) began by comparing road design with a shooting gallery that had consecutive lanes pointing in opposite directions. He continued with a dramatic presentation on innovation in insurance leadership. ICBC is a crown corporation with a monopoly on basic third party auto insurance in the province of BC. Soon after assuming office he learnt that the reserves were rapidly becoming insufficient to meet increasing liabilities. The easy way to solve such a problem would be to increase premiums. However, the board of directors of ICBC, the cabinet of the provincial government, announced that there would be a freeze on all provincial fees. A cost reduction strategy was the only option. He showed that by forming partnerships with municipalities and police that included sharing road improvement and law enforcement costs, insurance costs decreased. He sighted an example of a $40,000 investment by ICBC in new traffic lights at a high rate accident intersection having a many hundred-fold return on investment. Renting police officers to conduct year round roadside spot inspections reduced the incidence of alcohol related accidents. Mr. Thompson acknowledged that justifying such investments is easier in a monopoly market situation.

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LTC Insurance

Throughout the seminar there was a general recognition that the private insurance market made a valuable contribution to what Josei Itoh, called “harnessing the power of humanity”. However, recognizing the needs of the baby boomer generation for long term care (LTC), there was acknowledgement that alliances with government insurance plans would be needed. Edward Berbube, President, Insurance Group Conseco U.S.A. gave a compassionate presentation of the challenges and pitfalls of providing LTC insurance in the U.S.  While acknowledging the need for private / public alliances, he was critical of the U.S. approach having individuals declared destitute before gaining access to Medicaid. Mark Brown, University of Wisconsin, presented an analysis of the limitations of private insurance for LTC in a paper entitled “Adverse Selections and Death Spirals in the LTC insurance Market.

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IIS 2001 – Vienna, Austria

Next year the Society meets in Vienna, Austria. With the impending challenges being faced by EC countries in dealing with LTC needs of the baby boom generation and other public health insurance service issues, such a forum may be an opportunity to explore innovative private / public insurance alliances being called for in Vancouver. Clearly the IIS annual meeting provides the optimal, neutral environment desirable for exploring ways of delivering risk management services that are critical infrastructure components of a modern global society.

Tim Lynch, Consultant: Health Services Reimbursement

Info-Lynk Consulting Services Inc.

An abridged version of this article appeared in the September 2001 edition of International Travel Insurance Journal www.itij.co.uk

 

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