The Philippines is definitely not the most active country for start-ups among all the others in Southeast Asia. However, with the population exceeding 100 million, the constant GDP growth of over 6% for 7 years, and the average GDP reaching US$3000, the Philippines is sure to provide multiple opportunities for local entrepreneurs to start a business.
Maria Health was founded by Vincent Lau and Anna Yu in 2016. Between the two, Vincent Lau was born in America, and after working in Silicon Valley for 10 years, she saw the entrepreneurial opportunity in the health insurance industry in the Philippines. Meanwhile, Anna is specialized in the insurance industry with experience of over 10 years in the very domain, including actuarial services, employee welfare, health care, and the retirement programme.
During May 2019, Maria Health had gained a million dollars funding in series seed round led by Tryb Group, Gobi Partners, Wavemaker, Hustle Fund, and Grand Metro Holdings, with the plan to accelerate expansion in the Philippines.
Recently, Volanews had an interview with Vincent Lau, touching upon the company and the overview of the health insurance industry in the Philippines.
Volanews: Why it’s called Maria Health?
When first setting up the company, we wanted more than just a technology corporation, but a new brand closely related to individuals. The name Maria might come from your mum, your sister, your nanny, or your best friends. It feels like there is always a “Maria” looking after you. She is someone you can trust and rely on.
Volanews: What are the problems Maria Health needs to deal with?
Philippines has an extremely weak foundation in the health insurance industry, with only 5% of the citizens having health insurance and 24 million families without. Yet, small businesses are delighted to offer health insurance in groups for their staff. It is merely the troublesome process that leads to a delay in realization.
Three obstacles are mainly to be blamed: the low efficiency of getting feedback from the Health Maintenance Organization (HMO), the lack of related professional knowledge causing confusion in judgment, and the inability to choose the best insurance solution for staff based on the condition.
Therefore, we set up Maria Health as an online platform, providing one-stop service in buying health insurance, including offering the most high-quality projects in the market after thorough comparison and deep cognition, as well as providing customized insurance solutions. Whether it is about buying superior comprehensive nursing plans, or arranging a prepaid health plan, Maria Health is always ready to offer the services with instant recommendations and unbiased expert advice.
Meanwhile, with the increasing numbers of small businesses and family customers, Maria Health has the ability to provide health insurance projects of quality as high as big enterprises’, with the same benefits and the same considerably competitive price.
Volanews: How do you deal with the low efficiency of getting feedback from HMO?
Maria Health has co-operated with 5 major HMOs in the Philippines along with clinics and insurance companies, which not only makes it possible to open a pathway directly to customers in need of insurance, but also raises the concentration and efficiency in providing services. At present, we have covered all the top hospitals in the Philippines, including 3,000 clinics and 30,000 doctors, to provide all-rounded services for over 10,000 customers in Maria Health.
Volanews: What types of health insurances are there in Maria Health now?
There are multiple products to choose from. For businesses, we provide prepaid health plans ranging from 3.9 to 58 dollars, as well as customized health insurance projects based on the scales of the company. For family individuals, we provide all-rounded health insurance projects for children, adults, and the elderly, covering dental care, in-patient insurance, unlimited health insurance, ambulance service, emergency and out-patient service, etc., with the cost starting from 156.7 dollars.
Volanews: Is commission charge the main profit source of Maria Health? May I ask the present profitability?
We have a simple business mode. Once there is someone reserving a heath project form Maria Health, we can certain transaction fees. Though at present we haven’t profited, by 2020, we believe a clearer profitable approach is sure to come.
Volanews: The Philippine Government has carried out a universal coverage insurance project targeted for all citizens. How do you think it might affect Maria Health?
The reach and welfare degree of the government project is still limited, which only secures the basic interests of health. While Maria Health, armed with modern technology, wishes to enable the Philippines with stronger consumptive power to access the best personal health insurance project.
In the future, we also look forward to supporting the majority to access the suitable health insurance in the whole Southeast Asia.
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