When it comes to group benefits, it’s important to practise what you preach. Before launching its telemedicine virtual platform last month, SSQ Insurance tried to identify if its new offering would prove beneficial to workers. In conducting this R&D, there was no better place to gauge interest than with its own workforce.
“As an employer we opted to offer the service to our employees – putting our money where our mouths are,” says Louis Régimbal, SSQ Insurance's vice-president of Strategy and Innovation. “That’s about 2,200 people and the response has been incredibly positive. I haven’t seen this level of enthusiasm in our company for a new benefit in a long time.”
The DIALOGUE platform allows plan members same-day access to a health professional through a video conference. This may involve a consultation with a general practitioner, a live chat with a nurse, or simply receiving a prescription. That sort of convenience is likely to prove popular with many employees across Canada, believes Régimbal.
“The benefit for the plan member is the mechanism to have access to a health care professional. It could be at the very least a form of triage and tell you if you really need to worry about something. It is designed for specific issues – an earache, a sore throat. It could be your son has cut themselves playing so you can find out if you need to go to a hospital or not.”
It’s a service that can increase the health and morale of employees, which in turn makes a company stronger. For that reason, Régimbal is confident the added cost to sponsors’ premiums will be more than compensated by increased productivity.
“We are at the tip of the spear here. We have saw individual employers offer this to their employees because they have highly paid professionals. They were the first to show interest in this kind of platform, but I think this will benefit everyone in the end. It is about democratizing of access to healthcare professionals.”
Rebranding part of broader national expansion: SSQ Insurance
Critics question online consultation services