New technologies mean disability income protection (IP) claims managers can enhance and expand the support and services they offer. Digital solutions can also be used to improve the claims experience.
TrackActive is a company that has developed an artificial intelligence-driven engagement platform that provides early, cost-effective and scalable interventions for rehabilitation and prevention of musculoskeletal conditions and other chronic disease. To find out more, I spoke with TrackActive co-founder and CEO Michael Levens.
RC: What drew you to the disability insurance business?
ML: We launched a product called TrackActive Pro. It links up patients with musculoskeletal conditions to clinics and physiotherapists. People using our service to support insurance claims suggested we go direct to insurers. They said it would reduce the friction they felt in making and processing their claims – the form filling and episodic, continuing interactions with the insurer. So, we developed a fully digital sister product called TrackActive Me.
RC: Have you encountered any challenges so far?
ML: Disability carriers don’t own the physiotherapist or the health professional; they just buy services from them. So how we get our product into the insurance value chain is very important. Insurers already have excellent claims management processes. However, these rely heavily on paper, which means we have to show that our digital offering can add value or even improve upon them.
RC: What are the benefits of TrackActive Me to the IP insurer and for the claimant?
ML: Engaging health professionals comes with a cost, and it’s continuing each time a claimant sits with one to process a claim. The quality and impact of the digitized version of our service compares very favorably; it’s as effective as going to see a health professional, and the prescribed exercises can be accessed on demand. The idea of a physiotherapist in your pocket that allows for remote monitoring is a stepping stone toward self-management. If things are working less than optimally, the user can easily opt in to seeing a health professional in person, via TrackActive Pro. Blending service and product like this is important.
See also: Putting Digital Health to Work
RC: Must insurers think and act differently to use a digital tool?
ML: Yes, it can be difficult for insurers to visualize a digital version of an analogue process. For a start, TrackActive Me is very self-managed. While we have taken down an implementation barrier by making it simple for claimants to get and to use, we have removed some control of the process, too. Insurers can give the tool to their claimants, or a health professional can bring them on board after they have gone through their primary treatment.
RC: What is your message to IP insurers who are thinking about digital alternatives?
ML: It’s easy, really. We want to engage with companies willing to see that new digital process are not only capable but will enhance their offering. Companies that want to join the dots between the digital and the analogue. Those that have an open mind to technology and want to look at ways the current model can be enhanced.
The ideal working approach is collaboration to help the technologies of startups mature in ways that fit best with the needs of IP insurers, before plugging them into existing systems by using open application programming interfaces.
Technology will reduce the amount of manual work involved in assessing an IP claim. There are long-term benefits for insurers, as well, in the rich customer data that will be generated. Analysis of the data will provide predictive intelligence to help deliver better value and service to new claimants. It will help to anticipate claims and give focus to providing effective interventions. Ultimately, IP claims solutions delivered using AI or other digital means will save process costs that can then be passed on to customers in the form of reduced premiums. Meanwhile, a more frictionless and transparent solution to managing customers’ recovery in claim stages will significantly add to customers’ satisfaction.