Digital health – for insurers “the digital transformation”, the “oil of the 21st century” – has been a hot topic for almost a decade now. So have digital opportunities now been fully embraced and a tidal wave of health data leveraged to the benefit of individual/insureds, healthcare systems and Life & Health insurers?
Life and Health Insurance Underwriting is entering a “new normal”. The industry is moving beyond exploring new technologies, such as advanced data analytics and automation, to real-world applications. In this new environment, innovation is not seen as novel but as critical to the success of the insurance enterprise. Insurers are taking tangible steps to fundamentally change the ways that global life and health risks are underwritten.
Critically important containment measures have been shown to ‘flatten the curve’ of new SARS-CoV-2 infections, save lives and ease the pressure on healthcare systems and medical supplies. At the same time, there are indications that these and other COVID-19 related measures will, depending on their extent and duration, also impact on the future mortality and morbidity trends of other areas of disease and health.
Some insurers have added the carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) blood test to the laboratory screening profile for Life and Health insurance applications, and some of our U.S. clients have asked for advice on whether to adopt this test.
Costing hundreds of thousands, even millions of USD per individual, a handful of immuno- and gene therapies have been developed to-date. But in fact it’s no longer correct to talk of just “a handful” – usage expansion is already well underway and set to increase medium term.
There is no single tool capable of defeating insurance fraud. In a wide-ranging paper and guide, RGA shares insights into fraud detection and prevention trends, techniques, and technologies at the RGA Fraud Conference. Insurers must be proactive and prepared to adapt nimbly, to keep pace with fraudsters. Find simple steps all insurers can take here.
Cystic fibrosis was rarely encountered by Life and Health underwriters until relatively recently. However, advances in our understanding of this inherited lung disease, and the emergence of more effective treatments, mean that children born with the disease are now surviving into adulthood and living much healthier lives.
Significant and rapid progress in genetics research and data analytics is currently enabling an unprecedented expansion in science’s understanding of the genetic underpinnings of rare and common diseases. Large-scale cohort studies such as the UK Biobank are helping scientists build powerful prognostic models for a number of diseases, including breast cancer and coronary artery disease, and hastening the development of a new tool for quantifying the inheritability of common diseases: Polygenic risk scores.
Genetic testing is becoming more accessible and commonplace, with new genetic links to diseases regularly being identified. However, the many constraints on the use of predictive genetic tests in insurance means that the easy availability of direct consumer testing is an issue that the industry must consider very carefully.
RGA's Marc Sofer, Head of Data and Strategic Analytics, Asian Markets, discusses how the newest data sets, together with existing data and novel analytics, are impacting the industry’s growth and development.