GenAI: A real game-changer

June 4, 2024

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By Leah Cooper, Global Chief Digital Officer

Generative artificial intelligence, commonly referred to as GenAI, is proving to be a real game-changer in our everyday lives. News headlines are released every day about the expanded use of GenAI in practically all industries ranging from entertainment to healthcare to education. In the entertainment world, we listen to new songs and videos created in the digital world based on a series of prompts and descriptions; in healthcare, we read about new research into some of today’s most perplexing diseases and debilitating conditions; and in education, we witness the introduction of new digital tools tailored to an individual’s preferred learning style and designed to create a more interactive and immersive experience.  

And sometimes, GenAI is at work behind the scenes, and we may not even realize it. Finishing a recent shopping trip at the grocery store, I received a notification on my mobile phone noting the ingredients I had just purchased and offering a recipe based on my selections. Undoubtedly, GenAI is widely pervasive and promises powerful potential.

Powerful and promising technology 

Thinking about Sedgwick and how to better serve our clients’ needs, GenAI created early interest as a possible extension of our technology suite. Embracing change as a way to better support our clients led us to fully commit to exploring and finding ways to harness this new tool as part of our broader digital strategy.

At Sedgwick, our success has been rooted in our ability to provide innovative, technology-enabled business solutions to our clients around the globe. We know clients turn to us in a time of need, most often after something unexpected has happened. This can stem from a company seeking help following a work-related injury, a business owner wanting to rebuild a property structure after a massive storm, or an employer looking to manage a workforce absence amid layers of complex policies and regulations. This translates into Sedgwick receiving an estimated 20,000 calls and 1.7 million pages of claims-related documents each day surrounding these requests.  

Responding to these calls and reviewing these documents are arduous and time-consuming tasks for our claim professionals; and yet, these actions are necessary to formulate a strategy and establish next steps to advance the claims process. In our quest to elevate performance and better serve people, our information-driven environment seemed ripe for a powerful and promising technology such as GenAI. But given the rapid rate of change and the new technology flooding the market each day, we knew the potential introduction and use of GenAI had to be undertaken in a very controlled and responsible way.

A glimpse at the algorithms 

It is important to understand the essence of GenAI, as it is simply one tool in today’s technology and automation arsenal. What is unique about GenAI is that it is a type of artificial intelligence that uses unsupervised learning algorithms to create new digital content. These algorithms are known as large language modules (LLMs), and the new content can take the form of text, images, code or audio visual creations. In essence, when a question is posed about a general interest or document, GenAI creates a new thoughtful response as opposed to simply extracting information.

Better serving clients and customers 

The early introduction of GenAI was exciting as we could envision multiple uses and ways in which this technology could assist our claims professionals in better serving clients and customers. For example, GenAI could potentially complete or facilitate document summarization, writing emails and presentations, advanced question and answer responses, experience personalization, text data generation, or automated customer support.

After careful consideration, we chose to test the efficiency and effectiveness of GenAI in its ability to provide document summarization. We knew if GenAI could alleviate the administrative burden of document review, our claims professionals could improve efficiency and bolster customer satisfaction significantly by offering a more personal and attentive claims experience. The question before us was how to use this new GenAI capability within our secure claims environment and in a way to adhere to our stringent standards. 

As an initial step, we elected to establish a pilot program centered on summarizing the medical documents associated with workers’ compensation claims. Our technology team worked closely with our claims professionals to determine what information they typically glean from medical documents to determine how to address injured worker needs and define next steps in the claims process.

Using AI prompt engineering principles, we developed a series of well-defined requests and specifications for what we wanted the technology to achieve and how we wanted the documentation summaries to appear. Our goal was to see how GenAI would respond to our request to summarize a multi-page document and provide our claims professionals with the information they needed from a business process perspective. The result: GenAI responded extremely well and was effective in creating these document summarizations.

Throughout the pilot, the claims professionals worked closely with our technology team to verify and confirm that the document summaries created by GenAI were accurate and provided the necessary information.  This close working arrangement not only provided the technology verification needed but also generated a high-level of confidence and enthusiasm among the end-users or in this case, our workers’ compensation claims professionals.

Setting standards, protecting data 

Just as important as the accuracy and effectiveness of the document summaries was the need to ensure the use of GenAI conformed to our corporate security and AI policy and governance standards. These standards are meant to protect data and ensure clarity and transparency around our use of AI. They dictate privacy and security in all data management activities. It was imperative that GenAI not only meet our requests but do so while strictly adhering to our data privacy and security standards. Any use of GenAI had to be structured in a way that would keep all digital documents in-house in our ecosystem and under our purview.  

This successful pilot program resulted in what many in the industry now know as Sedgwick’s artificial intelligence tool, Sidekick. The use of Sidekick has not only been embraced in early client rollouts as a way to improve claim documentation speed and accuracy, Sedgwick was named by Foundry’s CIO as a 2024 CIO Award winner for this first-of-its-kind application.

Looking at the broader picture and the complexities before us in the claims industry, it is important to remember that GenAI is simply one tool amid a wide array of technology and automation solutions. Using machine learning and predictive models, our claims professionals can draw from Sedgwick’s coffers of data to create and leverage prescriptive solutions for our clients. 

What makes the use of technology so incredibly powerful at Sedgwick is its seamless integration with our data science capabilities and our unparalleled size, scope and 50-year experience in the claims industry. It’s the combination of talent, technology, and data assets that enable us to care for and help the clients and customers who count on every day.  

It’s an exciting time to be in the claims industry.  Technology advancements are moving more rapidly than ever before. And as the Global Chief Digital Officer at Sedgwick, I can say with confidence… the best is yet to come!

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Tags: AI, AI technology, Artificial Intelligence, Digital, digital technology, GenAI, Technological advances, Technology