Be a disruptor. That has been a catchphrase in R&N Casualty at Swiss Re all year long. It doesn't mean we should disrupt meetings; rather we should bring creative solutions to the industry. One area that could benefit from a new solution is workers' compensation and related medical costs.
Frequency of incidents go down every year as workplaces are safer, but medical costs continue to rise. The cumulative change in medical loss-time severity from 1995 through 2016 is 227%, according to NCCI. How can the insurance industry disrupt this rise?
What shows promise is wearable technology — devices worn by individuals to help track their health among other things. Wearables are a fast-growing sector and already in use by some companies. "The potential for eliminating entire categories of injuries is actually within reach," said Michelle Kerr in a recent Risk & Insurance article. Imagine a wristband that alerts truck drivers about fatigue; or sensors in gait belts that can signal a potential back injury during heavy lifting; or concussion sensors in helmets. Loss control representatives at insurers can equip their insureds with wearables and offer incentives in the form of premium savings.
Eliminating injury could disrupt medical inflation, as cost savings from avoiding injury outweigh new expenses. This type of disruption could be a workers' compensation game changer. Just imagine workers' compensation results without substantial back-injury claims.
Wearable technology is already penetrating the workplace. Two million employees will be required to wear health and fitness tracking devices by 2018 as a condition of employment, Gartner research estimates. While still in its infancy, the promise is there. Let's fast forward a few years — what wearable device will you be wearing?
Category: Funding longer lives: Health/medicine, Other