Can Healthcare Insurance Companies Transform Their Poor Image? CIGNA Is Going To Try!


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There is no question that the Health Benefits, Insurance and Delivery industries are in major flux…increasingly expensive and seemingly not making anyone happy.

For example:

My health plan with United Healthcare simply can’t get my dependents right. I have twin sons and the insurance company struggles with their having the same birthday. I also have a junior Christopher and we are constantly letting them know we are not the same person, which was a real problem when we both had the H1N1 flu and needed medicine. Just silly administrative nonsense that gets in the way of a bigger discussion.

Much in the same way that my son tried to order a “Hi C” from the drive-thru at McDonalds and instead received an “Iced T.” A nuisance, but almost understandable.

Apparently Health Insurance Companies are beginning to wake up and understand that they have to address this high pay-low service reputation or their very existence may be in jeopardy. For example, CIGNA has enbarked on a mission to improve the clarity of its communications, as one step in its overall service transformation.

According to Linda Ireland, co-owner and partner of Aveus LLC, a global strategy and operational change firm, CIGNA set up a Customer Experience team whose mission is:

To help individuals enrolled in CIGNA plans achieve their health goals with helpful information, trusted support and excellent service. To do that we must: communicate simply, consistently, and in ways they find personally relevant, compelling and easy to understand.

In her blog, Customer Experience For Profit, she writes:

What I like so much about the CIGNA approach is that
they’ve articulated why they’re changing, what the plan is, and what’s been done
so far. I like that the changes they’re working on should strengthen their
experience while improving financial performance – fewer questions and problems
will drive down the cost to serve customers. And I imagine there was
some candid fact sharing in the conversation that triggered this effort, about
how they got to where they are.

You can read the full text of her work at

My View

The CIGNA focus on its service experience seems to come at a good time. Not only is the industry on an unsustainable path, but its performance has opened the door to government intervention.

CIGNA’s Net Performance Scores (NPS), a measure of satisfaction (more on that measuring technique in other posts), is very low.

In late March, 2010, Satmetrix released its annual Industry Benchmark survey. According to the press release, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois was the only health insurance company profiled with a positive NPS, scoring 5% in a sector with an average of negative 13%. CIGNA ranked last among major health insurers with an NPS of negative 28%. Full reports are available for purchase on A summary of the press release can be read at :
A negative score means that more people rate their satisfaction poorly than acceptable. In an industry of major dissatisfaction, CIGNA ranked the worst.

I hope the efforts that CIGNA is undertaking are truly meaningful, not only for their millions of insured, but also to establish a new benchmark for the industry. As a former employee of this company, I hope it works.

This is one industry that can use Perfect Service.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Christopher Myers
Benefits Services Consulting
For more than 2 years, Chris Myers has designed and managed industry leading Employee Benefits service organizations. His passionate and innovative approach to service is widely recognized in the benefits field. His "Perfect Service" approach was created in 21 and within two years improved his company's satisfaction ratings to the top of the industry.


  1. Healthcare reform will trigger flood of customer inquiries and first impressions count — Is Healthcare sector ready? Stats show much work remains. For insights to what consumers think, check out this link to new consumer research on the customer experience in healthcare:


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