Read the Conversation
EF: What was your given mission when you were appointed?
EV: My main objective was to bring the company back to profit. There were a few challenges in the market, which makes the company’s turnover important. The company will grow if we generate and create more access for people. Our top priorities are growth, access, profitability, and customer experience as a differentiator.
EF: 2020 was the year of prevention and diagnosis, and 2021 was the year of vaccines; what do you think 2022 will be remembered for?
EV: We have faced and learned from many of the pandemic’s positives and negatives. The economy is recovering and becoming more stable. The job market is expanding, especially in the healthcare industry. Over 75% of the population is now on payroll, which is a drastic improvement. There are many things we can adapt, consolidate, and extract from the pandemic. One of the things Brazil has adapted to is digital transformation.
There are certain challenges we will face as a nation as well. We are trying to consolidate all the learnings from the pandemic to create innovative models moving forward. One must be a big player to play, but innovative to survive the market. To stay competitive in the market, several providers look for innovative collaborations.
One of Brazil's biggest challenges is medical cost inflation. Inflation limits access and waste hit a lot of the medical costs, from 20 to 25 per cent, however, efficiency is on our agenda. This year, we will focus on applying verticalization to lower market prices and create better access to healthcare. Also, the pandemic is not over yet, the current Covid wave has increased medical costs, putting a lot of pressure on the sector.
EF: What role does digital transformation play in access?
EV: The pandemic sped up the digital transformation process. Many companies created and adapted to the use of digital platforms during the pandemic. Adaption made businesses more efficient and improved customer experience. The usage rate of our website and app before the pandemic was 37% and rose to 97% during the pandemic.
One of the most relevant examples of digital transformation in Brazil is telemedicine. Before the pandemic, we had 1,000 consultations a month. We launched our brand and model aggressively during the pandemic, which increased our consultations to 80,000 a month. Currently, there are more than 2 million consultations in telemedicine.
Brazilian culture is very hospital-centred. People here believe that any ailment can be healed in a hospital. Digital transformation changed the acceptance of telemedicine after the pandemic. To avoid overcrowded hospitals and the risk of getting contaminated, many patients turned to telemedicine. People realized that telemedicine works well; customer experience is better and more cost-effective. Telemedicine helped solve 90% of people’s ailments, which freed up hospitals. Therefore, telemedicine services can impact the operation services in hospitals.
Doctors were the most resistant to telemedicine. We had to get doctors on board by assuring their salaries and showing them how their customer experience could improve. Telemedicine creates better access and provides the right care at the right moment, at the right place. The industry will balance telemedicine and regular in-person checkups moving forward. Looking at the healthcare market in Brazil, it still has an opportunity to mature and change. Our challenge is to generate and create more access to people and reduce medical costs. It is going to be a new time ahead, new business plans will come to light and it will be an exciting time to be in.
EF: Is there anything else you would like to add about customer experience?
EV: Customer experience also encompasses health plans. Customers compare plans that are in the market to get the best plan. That is why we have invested in customer apps and customer service. We have customer satisfaction surveys to rate our services, however, their behaviour and expectations change continuously, making it challenging to keep track of. This is something we constantly monitor.
EF: What is the biggest disease burden you have in your portfolio?
EV: With around 5,6 million among medical and dental beneficiaries, the area we spend the most on is Oncology within our portfolio.
EF: What is the current portfolio performance, and where do you see the growth?
EV: We are a one-stop shop because we have a wide range of products. We have a premium segment, which is the biggest one on the market. This segment offers easier access, an excellent network, a concierge service, speed, high-quality service, and exclusivity. We also have middle segment and entry segment products for SME companies, as well as large group products for large group companies.
There are approximately 3,3 million beneficiaries in our medical business and 2,3 million beneficiaries in our dental business. Within the dental business, individual plans are sold through our verticalized branch. We attend to both individuals and companies, which is why we call ourselves a one-stop-shop.
EF: Where do you see AMIL in the next five years?
EV: We want to become more profitable and one of the most desired brands for businesses and individuals. We want to be a brand known for having the best customer service. The industry service rankings were recently published, and we were in 19th place. This gives us room to improve and become innovative in our service delivery. We hope to become the best high-quality and accessible business in our medical and dental companies. There is still much room for companies to be creative in Brazil, and we want to be the front-runner.
It is interesting how, coming from a financial portfolio, I learned that managing a healthcare portfolio becomes a social and economic problem. The major issue I hope to transform in the healthcare sector is how we manage payments and reimbursements. If we manage the way payments and repayments are made, it will change how health is consumed. It is difficult to change; however, I believe innovation will come easily if this issue is resolved. It requires people with new minds to make a change because if we keep doing what we have been doing, we will keep getting the same results. There is a great momentum for things to change when recreating them.
EF: What would you like to be remembered as a manager during these hard times?
EV: Coming from a financial career, I was given the opportunity and the initiative to lead the company through the worst times of the pandemic. It was easy and challenging at the same time. It was challenging because of the uncertainty and easy because the direction of our work was very simple. I had to put a multi-functioning team together that created committees.
Within the committees, we established main objectives. One was to take care of our team. The second was to take care of our customers and patients. We understood that our employees needed emotional support. Every employee has a different problem that they are dealing with. The most important lesson from the pandemic is understanding and taking care of our employees. As a manager, it is great to know the importance of what you are doing, saving lives while taking care of your employees because most of them are going through a difficult time. I am so proud to be a part of the company because I know we save lives.