Meet the Team – Product Development

Bruce Bahn, Vice President, Product Development shares a day-in-the-life of the Product Development team at BCS, and provides additional insights into the recent launch of our EssentialCare Accident and Critical Illness policies.

Q: Describe your/your team’s role at BCS.
A: The Product function at BCS Financial contributes to the growth and profitability of the organization by leading the selection, development, and maintenance of the BCS product portfolio. We are involved in a wide variety of projects which can range from strategic investments and partnerships in new businesses to new and improved features of our current product portfolio. Our key value-add is (to collaborate with business and a functional leaders) to ensure that BCS makes the best decisions in selecting and developing new and improved products incorporating a fact-based view of the customer, the marketplace, competitive set and industry environment.

Q: Tell us about a project you are working on now.
A: While I’ve had the opportunity to work on a very diverse set of projects in my first four years at BCS, the most significant project I’ve been involved with is leading the development of our new portfolio of supplemental health products including Hospital Indemnity, Critical Illness, and Accident Insurance. Like BCBS health insurance, these are products that are sold via expert agents and brokers to employers who in turn offer them to their employees as part of their benefits package. Over the last couple of years, a BCS cross-functional team has worked diligently to develop, file, and launch market-leading products that offer innovative benefits, product features, and broker / customer support capabilities. The effort to design comprehensive and flexible products for a broad range of employer sizes and needs (100-10,000+ employees) and obtain approval for all three products in all 51 states and jurisdictions has been a significant undertaking. July 2019 is the milestone month for our formal market launch with approved products in as many as 75% of country with the expectation for full nationwide availability by the end of the year. Because we are a relatively new competitor, I suspect it will take some time for the market to recognize everything BCS is bringing to the market with this new portfolio. However, given the scale of the opportunity and continued growth of the supplemental health benefits market, I see tremendous future opportunity for BCS and its’ owners.

Q: What’s your favorite project you’ve worked on?
A: For me, the most rewarding aspects of new product development are those somewhat rare occasions when you can meaningfully add to the value that a product provides a customer in new or unique way. In reviewing numerous critical illness insurance product filings from established competitors, it was apparent that they all did a very good in providing customers with the essential financial support in the event of a serious physical ailment. However, none of the products I reviewed included a benefit for those inflicted with a serious mental illness. To me this was a clear gap in the coverage that BCS had the opportunity to address. So with the help of our actuarial partners, we developed a special rider that provides a benefit when a BCS EssentialCare critical illness policyholder is diagnosed with the three most common kinds of serious mental health conditions: Major Depressive Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and Schizophrenia. This new-to-market solution can provide a needed financial support if a person’s mental illness disrupts their life in the same way as a physical condition.

Q: Describe the perfect day off.
A: A walk along the Lake Michigan shore on a beautiful summer day with my family and our dogs.

Q: What’s one non-insurance product you can’t live without?
A: The amount and pace of innovation is the greatest it’s ever been. So many new products will be emerging in the 5-10 years that will address needs we didn’t even know we had. The process of exchanging information will be at the heart of many of these new solutions for daily living, health care delivery, financial services, etc. So while it’s a predictable answer, I’m going to say the product I couldn’t live without is the smartphone. It is and will continue to be at the very center of information exchange at a personal level.