iPMI Magazine Speaks with Gitte Bach, CEO and President, New Frontier Group
- Published in Executive Industry Interviews
Please introduce yourself and background in the international medical and travel insurance market:
My name is Gitte Bach, and I am the President and CEO of New Frontier Group.
I started my career in 1990 with International Health Insurance, Denmark. I led the company’s entry into Latin America, helped introduce our new 24/7/365 Alarm Centre and was then asked to help build a new department with a cost containment focus to handle the company’s large medical insurance claims.
In 2002 I left Denmark and went to California, where I founded New Frontier Group. I wanted to create an innovative, solution-oriented company offering multiple, customizable services. We now work with some of the biggest names in the industry.
New Frontier Group provides award winning international medical cost containment. What does award winning cost containment look like?
We never, ever, just sit back and look at the business day to day, but we continuously think about ways we can improve. What is going to be next, how can we develop so that we are always evolving?
We have been doing that both from a technology and a product offering standpoint and we have also developed our employees to live up to that same philosophy in everything they do.
April 2020 and New Frontier Group launched an extremely valuable Telemedicine solution. Can you walk us through the new service and how you see it developing?
We launched NFGtelecare just as the pandemic hit and the world went into lockdown. It was a godsend for many of our clients when access to traditional healthcare was neither safe, nor in many cases, available at all.
Now however, telemedicine is truly established and here to stay. It enhances the service proposition, encourages traveler interaction and ultimately reduces costs.
As well as routine healthcare consultations, we can arrange appointments with a specialist to discuss existing conditions or to get a second medical opinion. We can prescribe and deliver medication via our in-house pharmacy program, Onyx™Rx and if the physician feels that the patient would benefit from further tests or treatment, we can help direct them to a suitable facility nearby.
We need to realize that in this industry telecare is here to stay. Access to healthcare will never revert to how it was before. Telemedicine is now accepted by all our clients.
November 2020, and New Frontier Group wins Industry Supplier of the year at the ITIC Awards. Why did you win this coveted industry award?
Whilst somewhat overshadowed by the current pandemic, we were still extremely proud to have been recognized again at the International Travel Insurance Journal Awards – this time in the new, expanded category of Industry Supplier of the Year.
The award is testament to the continued efforts of our teams in California, South Florida and the UK, in always putting our patients, clients and partners first. From a service perspective, we think that the innovation that most likely impressed the judges was our integrated medical triage, telemedicine and pharmacy concierge service that sits ‘in front’ of our array of cost containment and network solutions. This combination of immediate and low cost access to medical advice and prescription medication, backed up by market leading cost control, is both extremely current and as far as we know, unique in the market.
For international medical payors managing the risks and healthcare of expatriates and people living overseas, what can New Frontier Group provide?
We offer our clients real time, ‘on-the-ground’ expertise and are involved on a daily basis in providing assistance with access to healthcare for expats, students and international travelers. We ensure that the services are appropriate, convenient and of course, part of our extensive network to ensure favourable rates for the payor. This is all part of our service offering and we are also available 24/7 to answer questions or address urgent issues as they arise, irrespective of what time zone our client may be in.
COVID-19 has crashed the travel market as we know it. Travel insurers are washing their hands of COVID-19 risks. Airlines are asking for bail outs. IATA say 25 million jobs are at risk in the airlines and aviation sector. What does the future hold for the travel market?
It has been devastating, both for the travel industry and associated sectors such as travel insurance and assistance. Everyone has had to dig deep and try to ride it out somehow – and we will!
People love to travel and businesses need to travel. There are already some encouraging signs and if these vaccines are rolled out quickly and prove successful, then I think we’ll see a surge from huge, pent-up demand for flights and holidays, with the positive knock-on impact to our industries. Roll-on 2021 is what I say!
Last, but not least, if you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I have been extremely fortunate to live in many different countries and have visited even more! I find every single one unique and I don’t have a particular favourite although I do love the Spanish/Latin American language and culture so that would probably have a strong bearing!
I do know one thing for certain, no matter where I am, I have always made it my clear mission to live every single day and get the best out of it, no matter where you are in the world!