Emerging technologies are presenting opportunities throughout the insurance industry, disrupting traditional processes and unlocking untold value for providers and claimants. One such opportunity is that of artificial intelligence (AI), a technology that has the potential to restructure patient data across multiple fields, while streamlining claims and improving the accuracy of conditions identified manually by 25 to 50 percent.

In this series, I will explore some of the opportunities technology presents to insurers, examining the models that will help drive innovation and unlock value for providers.

The Vision: AI-Powered Disability Management

AI is increasingly being embraced by insurance providers looking for ways to accelerate everything from claims processing to client engagement. The applications for AI continue to emerge, and one of the most exciting opportunities is in management of disability claims.

From a business standpoint, AI-powered insights will unlock multiple sources of value, with implications for key stakeholders that include:

  • A deeper understanding of disability claims
  • Improved return-to-health outcomes
  • Improved operations across the value chain
  • New commercialization constructs

From the standpoint of claimants, there are also highly valuable opportunities that come from AI, including:

  • Access to preventative information about their disability and health;
  • Reduced risk of disability;
  • Faster recovery through improved access to rehabilitation plans;
  • Improved transparency; and
  • Benefits derived from new offerings based on AI learning, such as holistic and preventative health services.

But how does AI do all this?

AI has the ability to comprehend vast amounts of data in ways that humans cannot. It can rapidly source external health data, genomics, natural language processing, electronic medical records, and machine learning on health analytics, to provide predictive insights.

Those predictive insights can lead toward recovery plans that individual providers are unlikely to see on their own—it is simply not possible for a human to analyze the same amount of data when searching for effective therapies. But AI can, almost instantaneously, analyze vast data sets and potentially identify an alternative treatment that shows higher success outcomes over more traditional therapies. That information, if put into practice, has the potential to help claimants recover and return to work more quickly, creating a positive outcome for the provider, the claimant and their employer.

Preventing Claims Before They Happen

Injury prevention is another exciting area where AI and insurers come together. Using data from various workplace sources, as well as that of individuals who have made claims and moved through the recovery and return to work phase of injury, AI can use analytics to spot high risk activities—or identify individuals who are moving toward risk over time.

An example to consider is that of a plumber. Typically, a plumber’s job is to fit pipes, set up drainage, repair sinks, etc. Knowing this, it’s reasonable to say that a plumber requires strong arms, dexterity and a bit of brute strength. The job also includes repetitive wrist movements and hammering.

If we examined a plumber’s path from work to injury on an individual basis, it would be difficult to say if or when someone might be at risk of injury. But AI, by examining vast amounts of data, is able to identify trends with accuracy, working backward from common injuries to suggest preventative measures that could help reduce injury occurrence. One example might be to limit the amount of wrist-twisting permitted at the workplace. Further, it may also show that plumbers who practice yoga have less injury, suggesting that both insurers and employers could benefit over the long term by paying for yoga memberships for employees.

Digital transformation in the insurance industry is already underway. We believe that by combining leading technology and creating portals that analyze vast amounts of data, providers can better position themselves to not only meet, but exceed the expectations of customers.

In my next post, I will explore how AI is helping to structure unstructured data in ways that have previously been near-impossible. It’s a window into the possibilities presented by new and emerging technologies.

To read more about insurance practices and business transformation please visit the Accenture blog, where I have several posts exploring everything from data veracity and how it’s reshaping insurance to life insurance and the internet of thinking.

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