II Awards 2020-21 Winner's Story - Aetna International

In this interview, part of the International Investment Awards 2020-21 Winner's Story series Gary Robinson speaks to Damian Lenihan, Executive Director - Operations and Distribution, Europe, Aetna International.

GR: How does it feel to win another International Investment Award?

DL: We're absolutely delighted to have won this category for two years in a row. Given that the International Investment awards programme is one viewed highly in the financial sector, it's an achievement we're very proud of. 

Behind the scenes, we work non-stop to put our members first and anticipate ways in which we can tailor health and well-being solutions to meet their needs. It's very gratifying therefore that the judges' recognised and noted the high level of customer service and our personal touch in their comments. 

GR: What is it that sets you apart from the competition in your field?

DL: I think it's our tireless commitment to a member-centric proposition, and how we're constantly looking for ways in which we can innovate to their benefit.

For example, in this unprecedented year we've sought opportunities that support mental, physical and emotional well-being and launched Wysa, an award-winning, clinically approved app.

Wysa offers immediate and continuous confidential support for emotional and mental well-being and we made this available to all our members over the age of 18 and our employees free of charge.

GR: Why is it important to be recognised by industry awards such as this?

DL: Winning year-on-year and the judges' great comments are tremendous accolades. It makes a very strong statement about the continued hard work, dedication to quality service for our members and pride our teams have in our company. 

GR: 2020 has been a tough year - how have you managed? And what will the company take into 2021?

DL: 2020 has been a very unusual year for everyone and our goal continues to be transforming health care globally by helping people get care when and where they need it, at a lower cost. 

We believe that people need convenient, real-time access to care and support no matter where they are in the world - and also no matter what is happening in the world. It will come as no surprise that during 2020 we saw an explosion of uptake in our virtual primary health care service, vHealth.

We've seen increases of several hundred percent for physical health and GP advice, and several thousand percent for mental health requests. As part of our duty of care to both members and our own employees, we widened access to vHealth during the pandemic and fast-tracked the introduction of Wysa, an AI driven chat bot to help with self-managing emotions as well as signposting to appropriate next steps for health and well-being.

Over the 165+ years of insurance expertise, we understand that helping people live their healthiest life is our greatest privilege and purpose. Which is why we'll continue to work on raising the standard of and easing access to affordable health care on every continent. 

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