Tag Archives: eeoc

Did Biden Just Kill Wellness Programs?

After a decade of criticism from me (here on ITL, in particular) and a growing number of others, workplace wellness died last week. It had been on life support since Jan. 7. 

The bottom line: Brokers and advisers should now be aware both of the professional risks they are taking by pitching clinical wellness programs and of the career risk they are subjecting their clients to by encouraging use of the programs. Most clinical wellness programs now technically violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). 

You might be wondering why this is the first you are hearing of it. That’s because this is new news, as of last Thursday. Here is a timeline:

  • Jan. 16, 2018: Federal court case “vacates” the expansive, corporate-friendly EEOC rules allowing large incentives and penalties used in clinical wellness programs and directs the EEOC to write new rules accordingly.
  • July 16, 2019: AARP and unionized Yale employees sue Yale for imposing such penalties. 
  • Jan. 7, 2021: The EEOC finally writes the new rules. As directed by the court, these rules no longer allow employers to subject employees to large forfeitures (penalties or foregone incentives) for refusing to submit to clinical wellness programs. The three Republican commissioners, at the request of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Business Roundtable, carve out a large loophole for increasingly unpopular and possibly harmful outcomes-based programs. (Those are the programs where you get heavily fined for not losing weight.)
  • Jan. 8-20, 2021: The dog doesn’t bark in the nighttime: The Federal Register does not publish the proposed rules for public comment. The absence of this routine step suggests these rules are already generating blowback.
  • Jan, 21, 2021: The Biden administration shakes up the EEOC, promoting the two Obama appointees, both of whom have strong pro-employee biases, and demoting the Republicans.
  • Jan. 21, 2021: The Biden administration freezes all proposed rules from every agency from publication for comment in the Federal Register. This indicates a thorough realignment of priorities is in the works.

Here are three ways to know that this timeline means the end of programs that, like most, focus exclusively on risk assessments, screens and coaching.

First, the ADA requires that clinical inquiries and exams be “voluntary.” Absent rules defining “voluntary,” incentives can’t be imposed. Very few employees would voluntarily allow their employers to hire unlicensed wellness vendors to “play doctor,” especially with no law proscribing the vendors’ use of that data. (HIPAA does not apply to standalone wellness companies.)

Second, the new EEOC leadership alignment eliminates the chance that the EEOC will re-publish the existing rules. If indeed the EEOC publishes new rules once new rules are green-lighted for publication in general, the agency will specifically allow only minimal incentives. Penalties? No way.

See also: 3 Tips for Increasing Customer Engagement

Third, that 2019 Yale lawsuit has yet to be decided. The judge has been sitting on the summary judgment briefs for more than a year now, presumably waiting for the rules to be promulgated. With no rules, Yale is now in clear violation of the ADA, so the decision should come down within weeks — in favor of the plaintiff employees. This decision will resonate with class action attorneys everywhere, as punitive programs will be “low-hanging fruit” for them. The decision will unleash a flood of claims by 2022.

Here’s how to keep your clinical program intact

The rules – and the EEOC’s jurisdiction in general – apply only to clinical programs. You can still offer activity-based programs and still tie up to 30% of insurance dollars to those programs. The reason? Activity-based programs are governed by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) only, not the ADA. They include physical and mental activities, as well as seminars, quizzes, volunteer work and more.

The difference between the two program types is best illustrated by an example: You can make employees wear FitBits to track their steps, but you can’t track their pulses. (It turns out tracking steps doesn’t accomplish anything anyway.)

There is a way to maintain your clinical programs. (Why anyone would want to is a different issue, covered at length here.) You can offer them side-by-side with your activity programs but allow employees to fully satisfy program requirements and earn the full incentive (or avoid the penalty) without submitting to any clinical test or inquiry. 

Suppose an employee needs 500 “wellness points,” and a risk assessment and a screen are worth 250 apiece. “Lunch ‘n’ learn” nutrition seminars are worth 50 points each, but employees are currently capped at 5 such seminars. That program would be noncompliant. Raising the cap to 10 or upping each seminar to 100 points solves the entire problem by allowing employees to earn the full incentive by sitting through all those sessions.

Employers concerned about the time commitment for something like that could offer health literacy quizzes instead. [Note: My company offers those.] This simple one-page flyer checks the ADA/EEOC compliance box by offering both quizzes and conventional screenings. It also encourages the highest-risk employees to choose screens, while a large majority of employees would learn more about health, healthcare and health benefits through quizzes.

As a belt-and-suspenders protection against EEOC exposure, Quizzify also provides indemnification to employers. With or without health literacy, your own wellness vendor should reconfigure its program to both comply with the ADA and to indemnify you and your client if it doesn’t. 

Especially with indemnification, expanding the number of activity-based offerings to allow employees to hit their points target while avoiding clinical programs solves this new problem. The challenge will be to make those non-clinical activities useful.

If you want to explore this topic further, Insurance Thought Leadership is co-sponsoring a seminar on this very topic on Monday, Feb. 1 at 1pm EST. You can register here.

Workers’ Comp: Cost of Doing Business

Most employers, both large and small, consider workers’ compensation “the cost of doing business.” The vast majority of employers that are not covered under federal regulations such as the Longshore and Harbors Workers Act are 100%-controlled by individual state laws, court systems and dispute resolution procedures. The history dates back to over 100 years ago as the “exclusive remedy” for injuries and illnesses “arising out of, and in, the course of employment.” It was also designed as a “no-fault system.” On paper, it is a simple system to understand. In reality, a simple claim can be a potential landmine and can be lost in a myriad of bureaucratic red tape, attorney involvement and litigation through state court systems.

Although workers’ comp costs are typically viewed as strictly a risk management or safety responsibility, the only way for an employer to truly contain both direct and indirect costs is to take a comprehensive approach and view workers’ comp programs in the context of their overall human resource programs. This requires an integrated, pre-planned, post-injury program design along with clearly defined policies and procedures using tools available under both state workers’ comp laws and federal disability laws. This includes the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recordkeeping regulations and other potentially specific federal rules and regulations such as medical exams covered under the Department of Transportation (DOT).

See also: The State of Workers’ Compensation  

Two of the most common cost drivers for employers is late reporting of injuries, known as lag time, and poorly designed return-to-work programs. Although both issues involve the core of workers’ comp cost management, neither is really dictated by state workers’ comp law. In fact, state workers’ comp laws and the treating providers working under those laws can be severely detrimental in efforts to improve prompt reporting and return-to-work programs.

Although workers’ comp benefits and systems are strictly governed by state law, the injury or illness is also covered by several federal laws. One of the biggest paradigm shifts in the workers’ comp industry was the result of the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) ruling in 2014 that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) “applies all the time whenever a medical condition has the potential to significantly disrupt an employee’s work participation.” (See ITL article “Is EEOC an Unlikely Friend on Work Comp,” March 25, 2015)

This EEOC ruling took the workers’ comp industry by surprise. Work-related injuries and illnesses are now clearly governed under federal law under the ADA “as soon as notified,” “all the time” and the process is “continuous.” The EEOC stated the only relevant question is, “whether the disability is now, or is perceived as potentially having an impact on someone’s ability to perform their job, bring home a paycheck and stay employed.” Further, the EEOC stated that the ADA applies, “when a medical condition has the potential to significantly disrupt an employee’s work participation.” What workers’ comp claim does not have the potential to disrupt work participation?

The EEOC went much further and stated that the cause of injury is “irrelevant” and that everyone, treating providers, TPAs and employers, should keep that in mind. Further, the EEOC indicated the employer is 100% responsible for the continuing interactive process regarding potential job accommodations and return-to-work policies under the federal ADA law. The following EEOC comment was the knockout punch: “Physicians and TPAs may be putting employers at risk, even if not properly passed along, and would be especially troublesome if the treating physician was selected by the employer.” This means that under the ADA the employer is 100% responsible for job accommodations for the employee “who can perform the essential functions of their job with a reasonable accommodation.”

A truly integrated disability approach and interactive process is required because all medical-related absences, both occupational and non-occupational, are covered under the ADA. Remember, the injury and return-to-work process are covered under the ADA, but the benefits associated with an occupational injury are still covered 100% under state workers’ comp law. Workers’ comp remains the exclusive remedy for claimant medical and lost-wage benefits but is not the exclusive remedy for an employer to gather relevant information such as accident witness information or medical reports regarding cause of injury, comorbidities and pre-existing conditions that can be extremely relevant in the adjudication of a workers’ comp claim down the road.

Jay Peichel, a principal at Keystone Risk Partners in Media, PA, was intrigued by the various ITL articles on ADA, DOT and OSHA and the federal laws’ relation to the workers’ compensation process and how it may relate to the various barriers that can affect workers’ compensation outcomes such as significant claim reporting lag, limited investigation, poor return to work process and ineffective med-legal determinations. Keystone designed a workers’ comp survey and resultant proprietary scorecard as an assessment tool to quantify how current policies and procedures (including safety rules, accident reporting, supervisor training, medical management, use of provider networks, use of independent medical exams (IMEs) and medical second opinions and return-to-work programs) are integrated to take full advantage of state-specific workers’ comp rules and regulation in coordination with federal disability laws such as the ADA, FMLA, DOT exams, when applicable, and OSHA recordkeeping regulations.

See also: How Should Workers’ Compensation Evolve?  

Keystone saw this tool as a natural fit in their risk mitigation and analytics service platform and also their core platform of captive consulting, captive management and risk placement. Jay Peichel, who specializes in workers’ comp claim analytics and benchmarking for his employer clients, said this new survey was “designed to help isolate hidden cost drivers in HR and workers’ compensation programs. It also provides us the road map to provide recommendations and intervention points not in isolation but rather within an integrated process utilizing best practices in both workers’ comp and disability cost management. Strategically, it links to our analytics platform and our ability to quantify the changes in outcomes and total cost of risk.”

The survey and scorecard are provided for a nominal charge by Keystone Risk Partners. For more information, contact Jay at jpeichel@keystonerisk.com.

‘Wild West’ of Suits Coming for Wellness

A group of screening vendors and their trade associations have drafted a letter to senators in which they reveal their hitherto unpublished level of panic over the December 2018 sunsetting of the EEOC’s safe harbor for incentives and penalties for health risk assessments and biometric screenings.

Their specific words are: “Without clear guidance from the EEOC, we fear a Wild West of litigation could re-emerge as it did prior to the EEOC guidelines… jeopardizing programs that are improving the health of America’s workforce.”

[Note: They offer no support for the assertion that their programs “are improving the health of America’s workforce,” and their own outcomes indicate the reverse.]

Their “ask” in this letter is for the Senate to confirm the pending EEOC appointees, including the chairperson, so that rules can be published by January.

Unfortunately, that isn’t going to happen, for three reasons. First, the EEOC has already announced that it doesn’t plan to issue rules in January to replace the rules vacated in December.

Second, the wellness industry doesn’t understand the way the rule-making process works. It’s a multistep process, laid out by statute, that in the least contentious of circumstances takes many months.

Third, the existence of vacancies on the commission has created a backlog of issues needing resolution. The only way wellness rises to the top of that list is if there is indeed a “Wild West of Litigation” in early 2019—which is actually quite likely. We at Quizzify are already aware of one aggrieved group of plaintiffs planning a class action.

So what should you do to hold yourselves harmless once the rules sunset? There are two concerns:

–Employee lawsuits in your own company. These will be common—especially in outcomes-based programs, owing to their unpopularity. (See page 15 of this report.) Specifically, the Net Promoter Score for wellness is -52, whereas the lowest major industry, cable TV and internet services, scores +2.

–Employee lawsuits in other companies. A federal judge’s decision might well affect the landscape—either an entire circuit or the country as a whole. You could be required to give the 2019 premium differential back to employees if your program fits the category of non-voluntary.

Vulnerability may be based on 2019 differentials even if the program itself is undertaken in 2018. As Jonathan Zimmerman of Morgan, Lewis and Bockius put it: “Absent guidance from EEOC (which itself would not be binding on the courts), it’s not knowable whether 2019 premium differentials caused by refusal to be screened in 2018 could survive employee legal challenge. Therefore, it is important to create a path for employees this year that allows them to achieve their full ‘points’ total without medical exams or inquiries.”

Quizzify indemnifies customers against EEOC lawsuits, thus solving the first problem. For the second, Quizzify offers a simply money-back guarantee that no judicial decision anywhere else will affect their premium differential.replace the EEOC’s sunsetting safe harbor. Instituting this program in 2018 will create a safe harbor and a money-back guarantee for 2019.

To learn more, join us for a webinar at 10am CDT on Wednesday, Sept. 19. Contact us at hello@quizzify.com to get the promo code to sign up for free.

Dissecting Landmark Decision on Wellness

This is a follow-up to the announcement and “back story” of the Dec. 21 wellness decision in AARP vs. EEOC, a decision that could severely curtail incentives and penalties…and that could, to paraphrase the most memorable G-rated words ever spoken by Bill Clinton, end wellness as we know it.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that this decision may actually be a windfall for employers with wellness programs that use heavy incentives.

Q: What just happened?

AARP just won a very favorable district court ruling against the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency charged with enforcing the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act (GINA). The full decision is here.

Q: How is this different from the previous ruling in AARP v. EEOC?

The original ruling, though in favor of AARP, gave EEOC more than three years to amend its rules to redefine “voluntary” to match the dictionary definition. The new ruling gives one year both for the EEOC to write the rules and for employers to implement the rules, and makes clear what is expected of them. Here  is the key to why this decision should stick:

The government can’t define “voluntary” to include fines of $2,000 or more for non-compliance if it also requires a “mandate” — the opposite of a voluntary option — that carries only a $695 penalty for non-compliance. A voluntary option can’t include remotely as high a penalty for non-compliance as a mandatory requirement, especially in the very same law.

See also: A Wellness Program Everyone Can Love  

Q: What will remain as of January 2019 that employers can require subject to forfeitures?

It is still OK to offer medical screenings and HRAs (collectively, “medical exams”) OR dangle incentives or fines (collectively “forfeitures”), just as it is today. The difference is that the programs involving required forfeitures can’t also require medical exams, which both the ADA and GINA say can only be “voluntary.” The court ruled that you can’t force employees to undergo “voluntary” exams by dangling or threatening to withhold large sums of money.

So you can still require employee forfeitures up to 30% (50% for smokers), and you can still offer medical exams. You just can’t combine the two. That’s because, in order for a wellness program to fall under ADA and GINA in the first place, medical exams must be involved. So, for example, requiring employees to either do screening or do Quizzify is still allowed.

Q: Does this cover screenings only, or are programs that combine annual physicals and forfeitures also affected?

A: If the results of the latter are not shared with the employer,  it appears that they may still be require-able. A better question is why an employer would want to require them. First, they lose money.  Second, they don’t appear to benefit employees, either. The New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of the American Medical Association, Choosing Wisely and Consumer Reports (and also Slate) have all looked at the data and concluded that for most people annual physicals confer no net health benefit, meaning even if they were free they would be worthless. (People who have continuing health issues should, of course, see their doctor regularly. Those would not be considered checkups under this definition.)

Logically and intuitively, this conclusion would appear to be especially true when employees submit to those physicals under duress. Quizzify — and this question, like most Quizzify questions, carries the Harvard Medical School (HMS) shield — recommends two checkups in one’s twenties, three in one’s thirties, four in one’s forties, five in one’s fifties and for most people annually after that. However, this is also Quizzify’s most edited-out Q&A, as some employers nonetheless want even healthy employees to get physicals every year, and Quizzify respects that choice (though a customized question advocating it could not carry the HMS shield).

Q: These Q&As seem very Quizzify-centric.

A: That’s not a question, but I’ll answer it anyway. There are two reasons for that:

  1. We know of no other vendor that solves the problem and guarantees the solution, with EEOC indemnification. Quizzify was both conceived and designed in anticipation that this court decision would happen someday. (I just didn’t expect it to happen four days before Christmas, which meant a lot of my cousins got gift cards instead of ugly sweaters.) All my exposes on the wellness industry led me to conclude that conventional “wellness or else” (as Jon Robison calls it) could never survive a court challenge…and I designed a product specifically to allow employers to address that challenge immediately and completely.
  2. Those of you familiar with my work know I have only three talents in life: wellness outcomes measurement, employee health literacy/consumerism education and self-promotion.

Your vendor, Quizzify or not, should offer something like this right on their website. If they do, you’re safe:

Q: What other analyses should we be looking at?

The best is The Incidental Economist. AARP hasn’t released a formal statement, but its informal back story can be found at the bottom of this posting.

Q: So what should we do about it?

Simply add the option of taking Quizzify quizzes to the option of HRAs/screenings. That one-step fix is guaranteed and indemnified to solve your legal issues. It will also save money both up front (a year of Quizzify costs much less than a single screening) and down the road, because wiser employees make healthier decisions…and healthier decisions save money. Employees also like playing trivia more than they like being browbeaten into promising to eat more broccoli.

If your vendor refuses to add Quizzify via a “single sign on” and you don’t want to add it separately, you can fire the vendor (we can help you do that — if the vendor shows a positive ROI it means their outcomes are fabricated, which we can easily demonstrate) and replace them with one that will, of which there are more to choose from every week.

Q: What happens next?

A: The EEOC needs to rewrite the rules to comply with this decision by making new rules — and needs to do it in 2018 so that they can be adopted and implemented by employers by January 2019. The definition of “voluntary” will be a line-drawing exercise. Likely, gift cards and small incentives will be considered “voluntary.” If your incentive falls within whatever cap they decide upon already, you’re fine, with or without Quizzify.

Q: Is this is last word?

A: No.  First, the final rules have yet to be written. The rules then have to be approved by the district court.

Along with that uncertainty are two others. The EEOC could appeal, because these days it tends to oppose employee rights, rather than support them. However, the DC Appellate Circuit, led by Merrick Garland, would likely not be favorably disposed toward arguments that require, for example, defining “involuntary” as “voluntary,”  especially when the court will know that even award-winning vendors harm employees, vendors flout guidelines and screen the stuffing out of employees and give incorrect advice, creating further harms, and that the industry itself is rife with corruption, starting at the top. (I published my last paper in a medical-legal journal rather than a clinical journal specifically in anticipation that it might be the basis for an amicus curiae brief specifically in a situation like this.)

See also: Should Wellness Carry a Warning Label?  

In an unregulated, employee emptor environment like this, voluntary fines collected by shareholders from employees wanting to protect themselves from the harms above should not exceed fines set as penalties for a mandate, and paid into a pool to create an insurance product. (That the mandate is going away is not relevant — it’s the fact the government has two words with opposite meanings that have inverse fines.)

Alternatively, an Act of Congress could gut GINA. The American Benefits Council could try to convince the legislators their colleagues contribute heavily to, like Virginia Foxx (R-NC5), to push HR1313, for example. HR1313 is arguably the worst bill of any type ever to clear a congressional committee, in that nobody benefits from it (other than DNA collection vendors, for whom it would be a windfall), but the ABC has already demonstrated its disregard for the best interest of its own members by browbeating Rep. Foxx into proposing that bill in the first place. The ABC is down, but not out…and, as this video shows, being down but not out can cloud one’s judgment.

However, because quite literally none of her constituents are helped by this bill and most of them in both parties detest it, Foxx may decide to disappoint her corporate overlords on this one, especially because it’s an election year.

Q: How is HR1313 (or a bill like it) that ABC might propose on behalf of its members (large employers) not in “the best interest of its own members”?

A: Many employers have finally figured out that even their own vendors know wellness loses money, and that incentives generally don’t change behavior because employees revert to their old behaviors once the incentive ends. (Incentives do work for Quizzify-type programs, because, as you’ll see for yourself if you take the quiz, once you pay an employee to know things, she can’t un-know them. Pay an employee to learn that CT scans are full of radiation once, and he will stop demanding unnecessary CT scans forever.)

However, employers are stuck with these huge incentives now, which some employees expect annually. This rewrite of the “voluntary” rules, likely capping incentives in the low three figures, will allow employers to spend much less on incentives…and blame the government. (Obviously, we hope they maintain the incentives and instead just offer the Quizzify alternative. This will also save money due to Quizzify’s low price and a much-reduced number of employees having to follow up on false positives.)

If ABC were to be successful in gutting GINA and allowing financially coercive wellness programs to continue unabated, employers would still have to fork over large incentives.

Industry Trends for 2017

Every day, our colleagues take care of people facing uncertain situations. Whether they have a workplace injury, need time away for the birth of a child, experience a medical situation that will lead to time off, are in an auto accident or suffer product or property damage, we are here to let them know that it’s going to be okay.

Part of our job in caring for these people is to simplify and clarify the process and to explain what consumers can expect. An evolving system, shifting regulations, rapidly advancing technology and economic uncertainties add to the complexities they face. Key areas in the spotlight for the coming year include good health empowerments, regulation transformations, consumer-centric progressions, risk circumventions and tech modernisms.

We will continue to offer our insights as we monitor the following business advancements and challenges throughout 2017:

Good health empowerments

Accessing care via technology

Technology advancements will continue to influence healthcare delivery. Connecting a specific injury or condition with a quality provider in a virtual setting for more immediate treatment will make these advancements more readily acceptable and increase demand.

Balancing the scale of pain management

Increasing opioid addiction and the legalization of medical marijuana will ensure pain management remains at the forefront of industry discussions. Increased education about the dangers of opioid abuse, the availability of marijuana as a medical alternative and the introduction of alternative pain management techniques will continue to dominate the conversation.

Supporting mental health initiatives

The pressures to reduce stigma and strengthen initiatives aimed at psychosocial issues and behavioral health will continue to mount. The linkage between absence at the workplace and mental health will continue to be highlighted.

See also: 10 Insurance Questions for 2017  

Regulation transformations

Compliance enforcement

Employers will continue to manage compliance-related issues as they respond to changes in the ADA/ADAAA, FMLA and other federal and state laws affecting our industry. Political reorganization and shifting administrative priorities may also create regulatory shifts for OSHA and the EEOC.

Navigating regulatory changes

Assessing the impact of provisions introduced by newly elected officials from the federal and state level in the areas of healthcare, workers’ compensation and parental leave will be at the forefront. It will be necessary to monitor newly introduced legislation in key states such as California, New York and Florida to determine how best to respond and comply with new regulations.

Workers’ compensation strategies

Primary steps among industry leaders include finding common ground and developing strategies focused on benefiting all key stakeholders. Those who favor a federal workers’ compensation option point to inconsistent benefits, rules and regulations among the states. Others believe the state systems have proven to be effective and simply need to be updated. By understanding what should be changed or replicated, legislators can work to revitalize workers’ compensation and help ensure that it continues to fulfill its original purpose.

Consumer-centric progressions

Enhancing the claims experience

The current claims paradigm will continue to shift and be characterized by an increasing focus on the consumer. The needs of injured or ill employees and other consumers will assume center stage. Claims expectations will be established early on; information and resources to support the consumers’ needs will become more readily available; and care and concern will drive and transform the claims experience.

Bridging benefit models

Integrated benefit plans have long been discussed, but not widely implemented. Pushing the boundary between various benefit providers, administrators, payers and employers through advanced online platforms could be at the forefront of many discussions. In addition to technology advancements, there is a renewed health, wellness and compliance mindset that is fostering increased interest in integration.

On-demand consumerism

Consumer and customer expectations are on the rise, and providing an immediate response has become expected in many industries. Increased connectivity and immediate communication are now the standard. In the past, it was enough to provide claim and case details through push technology, seamless payment processing and direct bank deposits. Now, the gold standard is to provide a consumer-focused experience where access to resources and data are a click away. With enhanced consumer engagement comes faster resolution, reduced litigation and reallocation of resources to focus on more complex matters.

Risk circumventions

Crisis plans

Building resiliency through new predictive models in pre-catastrophic events and using new technologies in post-disaster recoveries is on the mind of many employers. Whether the emergency is natural or man-made, cyber- or product-related or a supply chain interruption, having the right pre-catastrophe plan in place continues to be a discussion among employers, brokers, carriers and payers.

Geo risks

More organizations are likely to consider an enterprise-wide response to growing political, economic and global risks as customer markets expand. There is also an increasing need to address travel risks for employees servicing global customers on a short-term or interim basis, and ensure preparedness plans are in place.

Talent strategies

There continues to be a need to attract, train and retain new talent as baby boomers enter retirement years. Employers must learn how to accommodate multiple generations with varied preferences – from telecommuting to technology – and ensure successful integration with the existing workforce. Creating strategies and using new tools for knowledge sharing will help enhance communication and understanding.

See also: 2017 Priorities for Innovation, Automation  

Tech modernisms

Artificial and emotional intelligence

The rapid advancement of technology has led to conversations and interest in artificial and emotional intelligence. Developments in these areas and others such as new connected health technologies, Internet of Things, drones, driverless cars and services using virtual technology are contributing to privacy law and ethical guideline debates.

Explosion in actionable data

With today’s technology advancements and increasing number of connected devices come an explosion in actionable data, creating a need for more data miners. There is a growing demand for data scientists and engineers who can interpret actionable information. The use and expectation of having more refined predictive analytics to drive decisions will continue to increase and underscore the need for this specialized talent. Deciphering actionable insights as more data pours in from various connected devices will continue to be an important topic of discussion.

Self-service innovations

Having been introduced in the banking and airlines industries early on, consumer self-service options are becoming increasingly popular in the risk and benefits industry. Consumers of claims services are seeking the same user experiences that they have become accustomed to in the B2C world, including instant information access, connectivity to tech support and two-way communication when and how they want it.

You can find the original report here.