2024 tech outlook: advanced tools with a human touch

March 28, 2024

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By Leah Cooper, Global Chief Digital Officer

There are more digital tools out there than ever before. We’re constantly hearing from vendors and insurtech providers about how their offerings are going to change our industry. At Sedgwick, we ultimately ask ourselves: Will the technology help us take care of people? Will it empower our claimants to understand how they can engage with us? Will it support our clients in knowing what’s going on with their programs? And will it help our talented colleagues do their jobs more easily and with better information at their fingertips? 

Connecting the dots in today’s technology-driven business environment can bring the big picture into focus. Here, I’ll explore some of the major tech trends in our industry and offer a few predictions for what the remainder of 2024 may have in store.

Artificial intelligence

None of us can ignore the profound influence of transformative technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and ChatGPT across all industries. That will certainly continue to grow throughout 2024. Generative AI (GenAI) is still under review to ensure that people use it securely, ethically and responsibly. However, this tech will become more trusted over time. Through iterative prompt engineering, technology teams will successfully collaborate with their business partners to design solutions that work and are accepted by operational teams. 

This sets the stage for companies that leverage GenAI to figure out how to chain together solutions with other AI-based tools — such as predictive models and decision engines — to get to impactful process transformation. As generative AI evolves, its integration will reshape work dynamics, interpersonal interactions and cognitive processes.

One key facet of any good AI program is keeping critical judgment calls in the hands of humans. In the claims space, it’s one thing to automate approvals of the easy stuff; it’s a different story to use AI in a way that supports skilled professionals as they are making decisions on complex claims. Any company leveraging AI needs to understand how it assists people in their roles — helping to alleviate administrative burdens but never overtaking the judgment of a real person. We like to say to our colleagues: AI is not coming for their jobs, it’s coming to their jobs. 

Leveraging data

With all the talk about GenAI, we may lose sight of an equally important area of technology that has been underway for years, and that’s data science. In the continued transformation of quality initiatives, claims professionals are getting more support through the integration of live data and instant feedback. Data is what guides decisions and provides greater transparency, but it can also help identify trends and drive improvement in outcomes. Watch this year as automated auditing, real-time monitoring and risk-based analysis become part of the quality conversation.

Data scientists are continuing to prove their value. Data is telling us richer stories, especially as new sources of information are integrated with existing processes. Application programming interfaces (APIs) provide tangible connections and are opening new possibilities for speeding up processes, informing models and decisions, and enhancing business intelligence. We expect organizations to delve more into how they can use data to gain comprehensive views of their competitive markets and total risk.

No silver bullet

At the most basic level, we all must remember that we can’t take humans out of the equation. In the face of talent shortages and calls for greater operational efficiency, everyone is looking for a silver bullet to apply tech forward, data driven approaches to the creation of low-touch/no-touch solutions. Those who figure out when and where that’s most appropriate will be most successful in implementing their digital strategies. 

We will never get away from the need for human connection in complex claims. In many scenarios, the people who turn to Sedgwick for help are scared. They need a partner, an advocate, to let them know they’ll be taken care of. It’s our job to figure out how to meet people where they are. Maybe that’s with improved digital platforms, communication channels and a prompt resolution — or it might be with a better and more informed way to engage with them one-on-one. 

There are some incredibly exciting things coming in the tech space in 2024 and beyond. A year from now, we will all know so much more than we do right now. Our industry and technology tools are continually changing, and all of us have a chance to make life better for our customers. That’s the most important thing we can set out to do.

Learn more — review our Connect 2024 list for trends to watch this year, visit our website to explore our technology solutions, and look out for the new “Tech forward” column in the upcoming issue of our digital magazine, edge

Tags: AI, AI technology, Artificial Intelligence, Carrier, claims process, Data, Digital, empowering performance, GenAI, Technological advances, Technology