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Challenges and new opportunities for NGOs

18 May 2017

Katja Habets, Senior Account Manager NGO Health Benefits, explains her role and what she sees as the main challenges and opportunities for NGOs.

What’s your role in Cigna’s dedicated NGO department?

I’m responsible for the NGO portfolio. This involves every aspect of the client relationship from policies, claims reporting and invoicing, to eligibility, long-term strategies and cost containment.

Which challenges are NGO HR managers facing?

I see three main challenges:

  1. Attracting and keeping the right staff
    More and more frequently, wide-ranging employee benefit packages are required to accomplish this mission.
  2. Duty of care
    It’s also vitally important to guarantee safety and peace of mind at all times. Without it, there’s no way for NGO workers to focus on their jobs. How will they perform better? How will they stay healthy? It’s all about duty of care and being there for the people who rely on you.
  3. Increasing number of local staff
    They now often outnumber expats. This creates challenges and raises questions associated with the level of health care cover for both groups. Cigna took a proactive approach. We significantly increased our understanding of the topic over the past few decades and responded to the unique needs of NGO-workers with NGO-specific products such as pre-and post-assignment check-ups, integrated medical emergency evacuations and access to confidential employee assistance programmes.

What do you think will change in the health care industry over the next five years?

The advancement of E-Health will continue, with more and more online services and apps related to health care. Telemedicine, where patients are diagnosed and treated from a distance, is now a reality. And personalised treatments based on our genomes may be a reality in just a few years too.

Last but not least, I believe employers will finally have the opportunity to become more engaged in the overall health and wellbeing of their employees. This is where we talk about mental health and work-life balance. There’ll be a dramatic shift in focus from treating illness to preventing the healthy from becoming sick.

What do you like about working at Cigna?

I joined Cigna almost nine years ago and I’ve enjoyed every day since. The dedication of the people I work with is amazing. Over the years, I gradually moved from a customer service role into account management. That experience doesn’t just help me keep the needs of insured members central in every decision; it pushes me to make sure we provide excellent service, every single day.