Article Synopsis :
The last two years have been good for the worker’s comp and disability insurance sectors in terms of premium growth, but losses due to continuing medical inflation and indemnity costs have been climbing. One way to reduce loss ratios could be to incorporate wearable technologies in more effective return to work (RTW) programs.
Cognizant’s “A Smart and Connected Ecosystem for Faster Return to Work for Disability and Worker’s Comp Insurers”, explores the current state of RTW programs and sheds light on how wearable technologies can make life easier for policyholders and insurers alike.
According to Cognizant, wearable technology solutions can improve the effectiveness of RTW programs by enabling:
- Real-time monitoring and support – Real time collaboration between physicians and patients with wearables such as FitBits can help patients recover with continuous interaction and support. The data can be used by the RTW co-ordinators to improve RTW functions and operations.
- Recovery experience for injured/disabled employees – Help the injured/disabled by maintaining better emotional levels with heightened engagement by providing self-servicing tools, education and motivational techniques.
- Effectiveness and efficiency of the RTW co-ordinator – Improving existing RTW programs is an industry-wide opportunity. RTW programs lag mainly because of lack of data and poor communication. A smart wearable equipped ecosystem will help with better analytical tools and collaborative features.
- Quick decision making and productivity issues – The smart wearable equipped ecosystem will help employee-employer co-ordination with continuous feedback which will further aid in better decision making and enhanced productivity.
The paper theorizes that ultimately all key stakeholders will benefit from wearable enabled, faster RTW programs, as follows:
- Restored Income
- Improved Satisfaction
- Reduced Productivity Impact
- Reduced Insurance Costs
- Better Compliance
- Reduced Costs
- Improved Business Benefits
Beyond reduced costs, a sound RTW program can also help insurers by providing other business benefits such as more analytical information, increased cross-selling opportunities, reduced cancellations/non-renewals, and increased customer retention, generating a competitive edge in a commoditized marketplace.
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Digital Insurer's CommentsWearable tech promises more and better information and analytical insights, and improved efficiency and effectiveness with reduced costs, so forward-thinking insurers are embracing the technology trying to overcome regulatory, privacy and data concerns.
Ultimately the reward is lower premiums and higher quality of life for policyholders, not necessarily higher profits for insurers, though the two go hand in hand. Putting customers first is what the FinTechs and InsurTechs are all about. Much of the innovation around wearables is happening with these startups. Legacy insurers, who own the bulk of customers and customer data, are actually better positioned to lead, legacy ‘product-first’ cultures notwithstanding.
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