Google sister company Verily discusses bidding for health insurance contracts

Predictions that the global data giants are moving into the general insurance space have taken a step closer to fruition with news that a Google company is talking about a move into health insurance.

Google sister company Verily, the Alphabet group’s healthcare subsidiary, is reported to have held talks with insurers about jointly bidding for contracts that would involve taking on risk for thousands of health insurance clients.

Formerly called Google Life Sciences, Verily is reported to have made some hires in relation to the proposal.

This latest development follows a move two years ago where Verily proposed and then abandoned a joint venture with insurer Oscar Health to manage care for low-income Rhode Island residents on Medicaid.

The potential entry into the insurance market of Google, Facebook and Amazon is widely anticipated because of the huge marketing power of their vast reservoirs of customer data.

Consulting group Capgemini vice president Aimee Sziklai said that “A data-driven approach will enable more tailored insurance products to better meet individual need.”

However, she warns, “The challenge of meaningful data collection and organisation, for incumbents, and now Verily, is to make it people-centric.”

And she said that customers “ever more expect meaningful engagement by not only their provider, but their insurance company as well.”