Tag Archives: morgan

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screening vendors and their trade associations have drafted a letter to senators in which they reveal their hitherto unpublished level of panic over the December 2018 sunsetting of the EEOC’s safe harbor for incentives and penalties for health risk assessments and biometric screenings.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

How AI Will Transform Insurance Claims

If you’re like most people, calling an insurance company isn’t among your favorite activities. That’s because the insurance industry is one of the least innovative areas for customer experience. Customers typically come away from their interactions dissatisfied. However, things are definitely changing, and artificial intelligence is playing a large role. The fast-growing technology has the potential to disrupt the entire industry and greatly improve the insurance customer experience.

Artificial Intelligence in the Claims Process

The insurance agency is notorious for its outdated processes. Filing a claim often looks the same today as it did decades ago because the industry isn’t consistently leveraging new technologies that are available. If an employee is busy or on vacation, a claims request could sit still until the right person is back. The outdated processes make it harder for agents by increasing the workload and forcing them to work with antiquated systems and frustrated customers.

However, AI can be applied to improve the claims process. Claims currently are touched by multiple employees. However, a new process of “touchless” claims doesn’t require any human intervention. This process uses artificial intelligence and other technology to report the claim, capture damage, audit the system and communicate with the customer. The potential here is huge, as the process could allow clients the chance to file claims without having to wade through red tape.

See also: Strategist’s Guide to Artificial Intelligence  

Companies that have already automated some aspects of their claims process have seen a significant reduction in processing times and quality. AI-powered claims could also fight against one of the most costly elements of the insurance industry: fraudulent claims, which cost the industry more than $40 billion a year. Instead of relying on humans to manually comb through reports to catch inaccurate claims, AI algorithms can identify patterns in the data and recognize when something is fraudulent.

Future of AI and Insurance

The industry is definitely ripe for AI disruption. Customers expect to be able to interact with companies through modern technology; a recent survey found that 74% of consumers say they would be happy to get computer-generated insurance advice.

Many insurance companies are already using artificial intelligence to some degree, and the number of companies following in their footsteps is sure to increase dramatically over the coming years. Artificial Intelligence has never been less expensive or more accessible, which means most companies don’t have a reason not to adopt it in at least some form.

Chatbots

Chatbots work through messaging apps that many customers already have on their phones, which makes them a natural next step in customer interaction. To truly be effective, chatbots must have natural language processing and sentiment analysis so they can understand what customers are really asking. Effective chatbots can process concerns that are either typed or spoken from customers and provide personalized service. In the insurance space, chatbots can be used to answer basic questions and resolve claims, as well as sell products, address leads or make sure customers are properly covered by their insurance.

Marketing and Underwriting

Insurance is a competitive market, so a strong marketing strategy is vital. Traditionally, insurance companies used blanket methods like cold calling customers, but today’s customers expect personalized sales tactics. AI can pull in customer data to create a full profile that can be used to offer only relevant insurance products and remember a customer’s preferences.

Instead of spending valuable time and money on the underwriting process, which typically includes invasive questions and surveys about to dictate premiums, artificial intelligence could automate the entire process. Bots could potentially scan a customer’s social profile to gather information and find trends and patterns. For example, someone who has a healthy lifestyle and a steady job may be able to be connected to being a safer driver, which could lower insurance premiums. AI can analyze data better than humans to more accurately predict each customer’s risk, thereby providing customers with the right amount of insurance and companies with protection from risky customers.

Data

Insurance is driven by data, and it has a huge effect on the company’s bottom line and the satisfaction of the customer. A recent study found that nearly 80% of insurance executives believe artificial intelligence will revolutionize the way insurers gain information from their customers, with more than half saying the biggest benefit is being able to leverage better data for improved insights into the customers.

See also: Seriously? Artificial Intelligence?  

Telematics, or wireless communication of data back to an organization, is expected to be a huge area of growth for insurance. Many insurance companies already offer discounts to customers who transmit their driving data back to the company. Telematics and artificial intelligence can take this one step further by recognizing GPS patterns with the data, inferring road and traffic conditions and even predicting and helping avoid accidents, which could potentially lead to fewer claims to process and safer and more satisfied customers.

The insurance industry has long been bogged down by outdated practices. However, the combination of a new wave of thinking and newly developed artificial intelligence technology has the potential to completely change the customer experience to provide great service in a way that resonates with modern customers.

You can find more on this subject in More Is More: How the Best Companies Go Farther and Work Harder to Create Knock-Your-Socks-Off Customer Experiences.

The Stubborn Myths About Older Workers

When it comes to retirement, a significant cultural and demographic trend is taking place. Twenty-five years ago, only about one worker in 10 planned to stay in the workforce beyond age 65. Today, that number has risen to more than 50%. In fact, according to the 16th annual Transamerica retirement survey, 82% of 60-somethings expect to work or are already working past age 65.

Today’s boomers are not ready to stop working. They are better-educated, more physically fit than their parents and perhaps not as financially comfortable as they’d like to be. In short, they are defying stereotypes about an aging workforce and redefining retirement.

It’s not strictly a financial matter. “Money and access to healthcare are of considerable importance,” reports the AARP Public Policy Institute, “but so are the desires to remain active, make a contribution and maintain social relationships at work. Furthermore, these workers often enjoy what they are doing.”

Boomers are still working today at ages when their parents and grandparents had retired. This is particularly true in a service industry like insurance where physical strength is not an issue. Think of today’s 65-year-old worker as yesterday’s 50-year-old worker.

What is surprising is that few insurance firms have adapted to this new trend or have put policies and practices in place to accommodate today’s retirement reality.

Yet, when asked to name their greatest challenges, many insurance firms concede that finding and keeping qualified staff is at the top of their list and state that the loss of talented and experienced older workers is a key concern. This issue is further confirmed by the accounting firm PwC’s report that concludes the industry faces “a potentially massive loss of skilled, knowledgeable workers” as large numbers of older insurance workers approach their traditional retirement dates. The report notes that hiring millennials is only part of the solution and does not adequately address the transfer-of-knowledge issue.

See also: Why Are We Still Just Talking Diversity?  

Perhaps it isn’t so surprising after all. There remains a litany of stereotypes and negative perceptions to explain why firms tend to reject older workers, including:

  • Hiring managers tend to see older workers as more likely to be burned out, slow to accept or adapt to new technologies, more likely to miss work due to illness and poor at working with younger workers, especially younger supervisors; and
  • Many assume older workers are less creative, less productive, slower mentally and more expensive to employ than their millennial counterparts.

But current research negates these stereotypes:

  • According to a study this spring prepared by Aon Hewitt for AARP, “workers aged 50-plus can help employers address current and future talent shortages.” AARP and others have long argued that older workers are reliable, flexible and experienced and possess valuable institutional knowledge.
  • Writing in the AARP Bulletin on “The Value of Older Workers,” T.R. Reid reminds us that hiring skilled, vintage workers can be “a boon to employers, a boost for the U.S. economy and a bonus for the workers. For employers, the ‘unretired’ provide a pool of experienced labor that has proved to be productive, dedicated and loyal.”
  • One of last year’s blockbuster movies, The Intern, took notice of boomers reentering the workforce. Robert DeNiro played a septuagenarian whose experience and life skills help turn around the business run by the wonder-kid played by Anne Hathaway. His character pinpoints the reasons employers should want an older worker: “I’ve always been a company man,” he declares. “I’m loyal, I’m trustworthy and I’m calm in a crisis.”

Researchers at the University of Kentucky surveyed large and small companies to assess how employers evaluate their older workers. They uncovered seven perceived benefits of hiring older workers:

  1. Dedication to the organization
  2. Customer-service orientation
  3. Dependability
  4. High productivity
  5. Life experiences
  6. Strong work ethic
  7. Institutional knowledge

When it comes to actual job performance, Peter Cappelli, a management professor at the Wharton School of Business, is quoted in the AARP article, “The Surprising Truth about Older Workers,” as observing that older workers outperform their younger peers. “Every aspect of job performance gets better as we age,” he says. “I thought the picture might be more mixed, but it isn’t. The juxtaposition between the superior performance of older workers and the discrimination against them in the workplace just really makes no sense.”

Nathaniel Reade summarized Cappelli’s findings: “Older workers tend to be motivated by causes like community, mission and a chance to make the world a better place; younger workers are more driven by factors that directly benefit themselves, such as money and promotions. But perhaps the greatest asset older workers bring is experience — their workplace wisdom. They’ve learned how to get along with people, solve problems without drama and call for help when necessary.”

In a Sept. 18, 2015, U.S. News and World Report article, “5 Reasons Employers Should Hire More Workers Over Age 50,” Maryalene LaPonise suggests we “forget the myth that older workers are outdated and expensive. The best are loyal and competent and may even help a business’s bottom line.” She sees their experience, confidence, “relatability,” loyalty and ability to save companies money as the key reasons to hire older workers.

In a Brookings blog, World Bank economists Wolfgang Fengler and Johannes Koettl write, “A binary system of working 100% until retirement and then suddenly moving to 0% at an arbitrary age of around 65 is one of the great anachronisms of today’s labor market.” They argue the whole idea of a “retirement age” should be retired.

See also: How Should Workers’ Compensation Evolve?  

At WAHVE, we agree in the power and performance of experienced workers. It is clear that the attitudes of insurance firms toward older workers need to be reset. For our part, WAHVE is helping reimagine both staffing and retirement in the insurance industry and bridges the gap between insurance firms’ staffing needs and seasoned professionals’ “work-life” balance preferences as they phase into retirement.