HK Healthy Living Directory

Wellpreneur Dawn Soo & Her HealthTech Startup CXA Are Redefining Corporate Healthcare In Asia

ConneXionsAsia (CXA) is a new kind of insurance broker. Beyond providing their corporate clients with the usual insurance coverage for employees, CXA has created a digital workplace insurance and wellness marketplace, which transforms an employer’s healthcare spend into a flexible benefits programme tailored entirely to their individual needs, allowing employees to mix and match insurance plans with health & wellness services (think fitness classes and holistic medicine sessions). Incredibly, they offer this to corporates for no additional cost! We talk to CXA’s Chief Wellness Officer & Hong Kong Country Lead Dawn Soo about why she decided to join the young startup, what makes CXA so different from other players and where the Asian healthcare industry is headed.

“CXA’s innovative platform transforms a company’s current healthcare spend into a benefits and wellness program where employees choose their own path to good health.”

How did you get involved with CXA?

I met Rosaline Chow Koo, the founder of CXA, when I was still with DocDoc, an online doctor reservation startup I co-founded in Singapore five years ago. We were negotiating a deal to extend our panel of healthcare practitioners to CXA’s corporate clients when Rosaline suggested I join the CXA team instead. I said yes for a variety of reasons: I am fascinated by the world of insurance and general population health trends but most importantly I was drawn to the people and team behind CXA. I loved the way they worked and collaborated with each other, and I was inspired by the vision of bringing better health to the workplace. 

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How is CXA different from other insurance brokers?

Insurance brokers are traditionally the middle-person between corporates and big insurance. We do the same work but in addition, we provide corporates with our digital CXA Wellness Platform that eases their administrative burden and allows their employees to manage their benefits and use up health credits on wellness services, thereby expanding their benefits package beyond just insurance coverage. We work closely with companies to develop and implement data-driven benefits and wellness strategies because we believe in evidence-based solutions and the complementary nature of benefits and wellness. We want to build a culture of health at every company we work with and improve the wellbeing of each and every employee because we believe this will translate to better business for the employer. Best of all, our business model means that employers don’t have to pay extra for all these additional services, making our offering accessible and affordable to SMEs and big corporates alike. 

“CXA’s mission is simple: we want to bring better health to the workplace.”

What Is The CXA Wellness Platform?

The CXA Wellness Platform offers a wealth of innovative, tech-forward services and solutions to our end-users including:

  • Our proprietary Health Risk Assessment that will tease out an individual’s lifestyle habits.
  • Our Online Biometric Service that displays results from an individual’s health screening directly uploaded from the lab.
  • Our Learning Channel that contains an entire library of health and wellness educational materials. 
  • Our Teleconsultation Service that offers a secure and safe line for individuals to speak to their physicians privately about their test results.
  • Our Wellness Shop that showcases over 50 vendors in Hong Kong (and growing every day!) who provide wellness related products and services to employees within our corporate network. Employees are able to use their employer-sponsored credits to buy these products and services. Even better, the entire transaction is facilitated by electronic vouchers and QR codes so it is paperless and cashless!
  • Our Data Capability: with the multitude of data we collect from transactions and activities going through our wellness portal, we are able to interpret and provide best-in-class analytics to our clients to help them better design their medical insurance plans and corporate wellness programs.

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What are CXA’s biggest challenges in the Hong Kong market?

The concept of ‘Flexible Benefits’ or ‘Corporate Wellness’ is relatively new in the Hong Kong market. As such, our efforts in the first year of business have been focused on raising awareness in the business community and educating corporates about our model. Because the wellness industry is relatively nascent, there are also a limited number of vendors in Hong Kong who are familiar with delivering structured wellness programs guided by metrics and goals. 

“Witnessing the impact of the work we do, whether it’s a single employee improving their health habits, a company seeing reductions in their premiums or our vendors seeing a healthy growth in their business thanks to the platform is incredibly rewarding for me.”

The health insurance model is changing throughout the Asian region. What’s driving this?

There are a few factors to consider such as:

  • Rising healthcare inflation in the region in the past decade. These increasing costs are not sustainable and have prompted companies to take a fresh look at their benefits and healthcare strategy. It is cheaper for an employer to intervene early and keep an employee healthy in their 20s than to treat them when they get sick in their 40s.
  • Internet access has become ubiquitous and we are truly living in a digital age enabling digital health tech startups, wellness apps and related gadgets to flourish. People are increasingly keen to find out more about themselves and their health and now have a multitude of devices to help them do so.
  • It’s difficult to find, attract and retain talent throughout the region, which means that companies are searching for creative ways to engage their employees and keep them happy beyond just a regular paycheck. Wellness benefits matter greatly to employee’s quality of life and shows them their employers cares about their health. 

“Wellness programs like ours at CXA will increasingly be seen by employees as a must-have rather than a nice-to-have.”

What is the future of healthcare in Hong Kong and Asia?

With rapidly increasing healthcare costs and the increase in prevalence of chronic disease throughout the Asian region, companies and other payers in the healthcare system need to find alternative models of healthcare delivery so costs remain manageable and talent remains happy. Companies will have to develop new strategies to manage a multi-generational workforce which consists of hard-to retain millennials to retirement-defying baby boomers. Defined contribution and flexible benefit structures will play a very important role in keeping this changing workforce happy. Technology will be key in these new models, so I expect to see a lot of innovation and growth in the digital/mobile health space.

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In terms of health benefits, what do employees want and expect from their employers?

This depends on the demographic of the employee. Millennials seek purpose in what they do, flexibility in their benefits and optimal work-life balance, while baby boomers seek stability, predictability and rich benefits from their companies to cover themselves and their families in the event of a mishap. Moreover, as employees progress through different life stages,  their needs will change accordingly, and they expect their employers to adapt to their changing needs. A defined contribution model is really the only practical way an employer can allow for flexibility: the employer commits to a fixed benefits amounts and the employee can choose how to spend it according to their needs.

On a more personal note, how do you stay healthy food and fitness wise? 

I do some form of fitness training every day: I love HIIT, yoga or wake boarding. Physical activity is great for stress relief, and also provides a healthy dose of endorphin release! Food-wise, I stick to a mostly high-protein diet with a good amount of healthy fats, and I do allow myself the occasional sweet treat. 


All images courtesy of ConneXionsAsia (CXA). 

This is a Green Queen partner post.