The benefits industry isn’t known for constant change. Yet as more technologies become available and begin being integrated into benefits processes, you’ve got to wonder – are we at the next stage of benefits evolution? That’s the question that really got us thinking. So we asked ourselves, “What will the group insurance market look like in five years?”
We took a look at some of the biggest emerging trends and how they might affect the future of the industry. So let’s fast-forward into the future and find out what lies in store!
Telehealth & Telemedicine services
The rise of technology has brought significant change to the benefits industry, and with it, new ways to maintain the health of plan members. One of the fastest growing are telehealth and telemedicine services. Many companies such as Sun Life Financial, SSQ Insurance, and of course Benefits by Design have recently unveiled a telehealth option, and we’re expecting this trend to continue.
Telehealth services allow plan members to access clinical services through their phones or computers and speak to real professionals without the need for in-person visits.
“These options are convenient and easy to use and offer better, more reliable access to specialists since they’re available 24/7.”
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Chatbots
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is taking the world by storm. In group insurance, AI is already helping people more effectively understand their benefits and the claims process. With instant access and the ability to understand your group benefits in real time, we see AI as an enticing tool for plan members looking for quick, easy help with almost anything to do with their benefits.
While it may seem a bit backwards, AI also offers the ability for personal service. You can customize and personalize the service you receive from these chatbots or robo-advisors. Since they have all of your previous claims experience and inquiries, they can tailor what you see and what is offered based on your preferences. This can offer a customized level of service previously reserved for person-to-person interaction.
Big Data and Predictive Modelling
The insurance industry has a big opportunity to use the large amount of data they house to improve benefits plans. Organizing and compiling all of that information and searching for any commonalities can be very illuminating and often guide an organization in exciting new directions!
To do this effectively, it’s important to sift through the outliers – data points so far removed from the rest that they skew your results. Once that’s done, you can use the information to predict trends and future outcomes. For example, think of the power of being able to predict claims activity based on plan member’s lifestyle factors. To do all of this effectively will require careful aggregation and segmentation of big data, but the payoff can be huge if you’re persistent and consistent.
Consider plotting data points for plan rates and compare them to previous years’ data. This can give you excellent insight into how plan rates change over time, and can help you to predict rates for future plan designs. It’s not an exact science and it should never be your only method of analyzing data, but it can be a powerful tool to reaffirm your suspicions and make strong business decisions.
Preparing for the Future
The benefits industry is changing – no doubt about it. As technology continues to evolve, we anticipate that it will have a great effect on what the industry looks like in ten or even five years.
The emerging trend of telemedicine and telehealth is poised to offer easy to access medical consultations (and possibly even robot therapists), while AI and chatbots revolutionize the claims process. With an abundance of big data, companies have the opportunity to turn that data into real value using predictive modelling and build better benefits plans. All in all, we’re incredibly excited for the future.