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Expanding those Horizons

BSc International Management Double Degree students simulate management consulting project with Allianz Germany.

By Sven Rottner

Practical relevance in both the virtual and the bricks-and-mortar classroom. What effects would the introduction of citizens' insurance have on private health insurers? What opportunities do behaviour-based tariffs and the use of genetic diagnostic data hold for private insurers? Students of the BSc International Management Double Degree programme discussed these questions with the former German Minister of Health and current senior manager at Allianz, Daniel Bahr, and Dr. Volker Marko of Allianz Krankenversicherung.

In the elective module "Impact of Political Risks on Business Decisions," students in the fourth semester of the BSc International Management Double Degree programme deal with realistic scenarios where risk management, political science and strategic business decisions overlap. The students identify and quantify the impact of political opportunities and risks for a specific company and develop strategies to manage them.

The module is interdisciplinary as well as practical - recently, as part of their course, the students simulated a consulting situation for the private health insurer, Allianz Deutschland.

Their discussion partners on this evening were Daniel Bahr, former German Minister of Health and now head of Benefits Management and Central Sales Coordination at Allianz Private Krankenversicherungs-AG, and Dr. Volker Marko, head of Health Policy at Allianz. This combination of speakers created a realistic situation for the discussion.

Citizens’ insurance and behaviour-based premiums

Ahead of the lecture, the students had dealt in detail with the topics of citizens' insurance and the setting of behaviour-based insurance premiums. They presented their results in small groups during the lecture. If a citizen's insurance system were actually introduced, the students thought it was quite possible that there would be a run on private supplementary insurance. They predicted that many people would simply not receive enough benefits from the statutory citizens' insurance. However, they also found that the loss of new business in the long term could lead to significant revenue losses. These would need to be reduced with creative new business models.

The students also discussed the use of smartphone tracking apps to record customer-specific behaviour. Combined with voluntary genetic testing, the recorded behaviour of customers could have a favourable impact on their insurance premiums. However, the students addressed a number of legal, ethical and data protection issues would have to be considered for successful implementation.

The simulated consulting interview enabled the students to look beyond their own horizons. Prof. Dr. Julia Brüggemann, Dean of Studies of the BSc International Management Double Degree and professor responsible for the module, was pleased with the lively exchange. “The visit by Mr. Bahr and Dr. Marko resulted in a very dynamic discussion. The students found out what it is like to make a presentation in front of such a high-calibre panel. Both sides gained valuable new insights.”

Daniel Bahr emphasized the students’ professionalism. “The students' good preparation resulted in an interesting and lively discussion. They addressed the needs of private health insurance very precisely.”

The lecture was part of the elective module “Effects of Political Risks on Business Decisions.” The students had the opportunity to listen to a guest lecture by the highly respected political scientist Professor Karl-Rudolf Korte at the start of the month.