French startup Alan is generating 100% of its revenue from health insurance products — and that isn’t going to change. But the company wants to start a conversation with a bigger use base. Alan is going to launch multiple mobile apps that let you learn more about health topics, contact a doctor and chat with the community.
“We are proud to announce today that we’re launching free medical apps for everyone,” co-founder and CEO Jean-Charles Samuelian-Werve said in a virtual press conference. “We’re going to develop services for specific groups of people who are facing specific issues or questions.”
And the company is starting with Alan Baby. As you can guess from the name, Alan Baby helps you stay on top of your baby’s health. The company has chosen to focus on that segment as your baby’s health can be a great source of mental stress.
When you first open the app, you get a feed of articles on specific topics, from sleep to nutrition and child development. You can get relevant articles by entering the birthdate of your child as you often don’t have the same questions at day one and day 100.
If you’re concerned about data, Alan says that it doesn’t leverage data for its insurance products — you can optionally enter the age in Alan Baby to customize content but that’s it. Health insurance companies in France don’t have a lot of wiggle room when it comes to data. Companies sign a health insurance contract for their employees. Insurance companies can’t accept or deny someone after that. They can’t set a higher price due to medical history.
While parents usually have 10 pediatrician appointments in the first year, you may have a burning question that cannot wait that long. From Alan Baby, you can start a text discussion with a doctor. The company says users should expect an answer within 24 hours.
Alan had already hired doctors for a similar messaging feature for its users who are covered under the health insurance products. The company is opening up that feature to more users beyond its paid customers.
Finally, people who install Alan Baby can interact with each other in the community section. It works a bit like an online forum on health topics, except that it’s mobile-first and Alan wants to moderate it with some help from its doctors.
“Thanks to what we’re setting up for parents, we will be able to extend it to other topics soon,” Samuelian-Werve said. He names fertility, mental health or diabetes as potential topics for other free apps.
While the apps are going to be free, the company expects to attract new clients for its health insurance thanks to those new apps. Essentially, Alan is broadening the top of its sales funnel with free apps.
An update on the health insurance products
Back in October, Samuelian-Werve told me that 100,000 were covered through Alan. A few months later, 139,000 people are covered through one Alan insurance product or another. Overall, 8,300 companies have chosen the company as their health insurance provider. Basically, Alan’s user base has more than doubled in 2020.
In France, employees are covered by both the national healthcare system and private insurance companies. So Alan convinces other companies to use its product for its employees. The company has obtained its own health insurance license, which means that it can customize its health insurance products completely, depending on the segment and client.
The company is also operating in Spain and Belgium. But it’s been a slow start, with 300 members in Spain and 500 members in Belgium. Alan is going to focus on those two markets before launching new countries in the future.