In recent years Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Alphabet Inc.’s (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Google have been seeking to leverage the large number of people they reach globally through their iOS and Android OS to push into health.
Apple and Google can leverage its OS in health
According to insurance company Prudential’s CEO, Mike Wells, the companies have platforms that can make them competitors in the health sector. However, this means that the Silicon Valley giants will face more regulatory scrutiny compared to what they currently face. Wells was speaking to CNBC’s Geoff Cutmore regarding Prudential’s launch of a health app called Pulse. The app allows people across 10 Southeast Asian countries to take health assessments, view medical profiles, check symptoms and get video consultations with physicians.
Wells said that as far as the companies becoming competitors, they already have platforms they can leverage. However, the tech giants don’t have the license for now to do that. He was speaking during the East Tech West conference taking place in Guangzhou, China and virtually. Asked about whether Google and Apple could move into selling insurance, Wells said that would be interesting. Still, it will depend on whether the companies will want to operate on “less or more regulatory fronts.”
Google and Apple could enter the health insurance space
So far, neither company has unveiled a dedicated health insurance product, but there have been early indications that they could consider venturing into the space. For instance, Google’s sister company Verily has for years set its sight on health insurance. Verily has teams working o diabetes care, medical research and several other pandemic-specific initiatives. Recently it unveiled a new subsidiary called Coefficient Insurance backed by Swiss Re Group.
On the other hand, Apple announced collaborations with insurers such as Aetna which lets Apple Watch users “earn off” for being healthy. It is also in discussions with Medicare plans regarding subsidizing the cost of the apple watch for seniors.
Interestingly the tech giants continue to face growing scrutiny from regulators for their anti-competitive behaviours.