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Traditional insurance brokers are going to get crushed, Mike Serbinis says

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Mike Serbinis thinks health insurance is ripe for disruption.

When it comes to the future for health insurance in North America, League Inc. founder and CEO Serbinis puts it in no uncertain terms: “I think the traditional insurance brokers are going to get crushed,” he says.

As a serial entrepreneur and tech visionary, Serbinis has a long history of being prescient, with over $1 billion in exits over his career, including early cloud company, DocSpace, and digital reader Kobo Inc. His new company takes aim at the health insurance industry.

“Insurance carriers, they’ll keep doing what they always do, which is underwrite, but I think the brokers and the administrators are all going to go away,” says Serbinis. “The future of health insurance is not about insurance, it’s about health.”

Speaking to Cantech Letter at this week’s SAAS North conference in Ottawa, Serbinis says his latest venture taps into a real society-wide shift. “In the workplace today, there are up to five generations at play at once and they all want very different things from health care,” says Serbinis. “From baby boomers to millennials to Generation Z, they have very different ideas of what health means.”

Serbinis says that preventative health care is now becoming a priority, and that means that companies need bigger and better supplementary health benefits plans, giving employees more access to things like massage, physiotherapy and mental health services. Overall, they need to make benefits plans more personalized and, frankly better, Serbinis says.

“For most of us, the benefits experience has been full of paper and just too frustrating. You end up not using it,” he says. “I think a lot of the experiential stuff is going to change dramatically. There needs to be someone who can provide that meta-experience that sits atop of all the different services that an employer could offer.”

Serbinis sees benefits plans playing an even greater role in Canadian society going forward, surmising that provincial governments will be further pressed to lower the bar on health services provided for free under Medicare. Add to that the growing evidence that says preventative medicine works, both economically and as a health measure, and you’ve got a situation where everyone is going to be leaning more heavily on their health plans.

“You look at chronic disease and you ask, ‘how much of this is preventable,’ and the answer is the majority,” says Serbinis. “And yet we’re doing nothing to invest in prevention, we’re doing very little.”

League only started operating two years ago but already has Canadian contracts for over $250 million, with an eye towards further expansion into the lucrative US market. But Serbinis admits that it’s been a tough battle trying to win contracts from companies who have for years gone through the traditional insurers, who can act like an old boys club.

“It happens in every sector when there’s a market transformation,” he says. “League is at the stage now where others are seeing us as not only a player in the market but a player that’s winning larger and larger clients. They’re starting to see us as more of a threat.”

The goal? Serbinis wants to reach $1 billion in contracts for 2018, which will necessitate another round of funding.

“We gotta raise some money,” says Serbinis. “We’ll raise a series B, so we can continue developing our platform, continue growing our presence across Canada and the US. We’ve seen big changes recently. We’re in very different place from where we were even six months ago,” he says.

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About The Author /

Jayson is a writer, researcher and educator with a PhD in political philosophy from the University of Ottawa. His interests range from bioethics and innovations in the health sciences to governance, social justice and the history of ideas.
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