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Mercer Marsh Benefits: harnessing data to drive insurtech

Richard Roper, Health & Benefits Leader Hong Kong, Mercer Marsh Benefits (MMB) Asia, discusses the optimisation of data in order to drive the insura...

Amber Donovan-Stevens
|Mar 27|magazine10 min read

Richard Roper, Health & Benefits Leader Hong Kong, Mercer Marsh Benefits (MMB) Asia, discusses the optimisation of data in order to drive the insurance company forward.

Richard Roper, Health & Benefits Leader Hong Kong, Mercer Marsh Benefits (MMB) Asia, became a part of MMB, a collaboration between Mercer and Marsh, when Marsh & McLennan acquired Jardine Lloyd Thompson (JLT) in April 2019. Roper had been with JLT for over 20 years, starting out as a consultant before moving to lead the corporate financial services business, private clients, sales and marketing in the UK. In 2014, he moved to Asia in order to lead the  JLT Employee Benefits business in Asia. 

Though the merger marked a significant shift across the organisation, Roper takes personal pride in the success of the integration of the two companies. “During this time, we surpassed all targets. This was against a backdrop of difficult times in Hong Kong,” he adds. “The resilience of the team to get the job done was remarkable.”  

Executing a successful digital strategy is invaluable in the industry and region currently, but for MMB it is particularly important to harness technology in order to bring improved insights to its clients while matching the needs of its changing workforce. “Our clients are looking to attract and retain employees, manage costs and improve the employee experience,” he says. “Our role is to work out how we can best help companies achieve those goals by understanding what the factors are that affect those goals.” 

To achieve this, data needs to be acquired and assimilated in a manner that enables effective insights for Marsh & McLennan’s clients, and this has been taking place alongside the changes undertaken by the workforce. “For example, last year our Hong Kong office went 100% agile. No allocated desks, no offices, just different types of mobile workstations. All employees have laptops and access to conferencing technology that allows fully mobile virtual meetings.” He adds that this has been particularly valuable with the recent disruptions in Hong Kong, as employees have been able to work from home or remotely.

Within this strategy, Roper believes that the key technology underpinning MMB’s competitive edge is its use of data. “MMB goes a step further with the use of data. Data without insights is useless. We go the extra mile to gather different data sources and then use the outputs to formulate targeted actions to help organisations achieve their people-related goals.” Corporations moving to harness large amounts of data is often easier said than done, but MMB has met this challenge with confidence through its partnership with AIA. 

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“We worked very closely with AIA on ‘data driven wellness, utilising claims data, biometric screening data and health risk assessment data to formulate a plan to provide targeted interventions to improve the underlying health and wellbeing of employees.” Roper credits the ability to have provided companies with a benchmark from which they can assess the success of these goals to MMB’s completion of AIA’s Healthiest Workplace Survey. 

To discover the full story of Mercer Marsh Benefits’ journey, see here. 

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