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Changing Perceptions and Roles for Insurance Medical Directors

To keep up with the pace of change, our medical teams have adopted a transformational mindset and immersed themselves more deeply within all aspects of the business.

The COVID-19 pandemic and competitive pressure continue to reshape the role of medical directors (MDs) in the life and health insurance industry. The need for medical and data analytics expertise is greater than ever as insurers face complex underwriting and claims case management challenges, as well as rapid digital transformation. Additionally, MDs are playing a greater role in executive advisement and key business decision-making.

To learn about the evolving role of physician-leaders in the pandemic era, RGA conducted a first-of-its-kind global survey of 124 insurance MDs from 84 companies in 2021. The report, first published in the February 2022 issue of the Journal of Insurance Medicine, is available here.

Survey results revealed that:

  • 70% of MDs dedicate most of their time to providing technical medical expertise.
  • More than half reported that their responsibilities and influence increased in the last two years.
  • Three in five (60%) reported a shift in underwriting to an emphasis on more competitive decisions, e-underwriting, and data analytics.
  • 35% reported a shift to more claims decisions being challenged and increasing complexity of claims and products.
  • Only 31% regularly offer their expertise to aid in product development.
  • Half of MDs (50%) prioritized data and analytics skills as a key to future professional growth.

Expert medical insight is indispensable in the current competitive environment. RGA MDs across the globe have played an instrumental role in helping our organization, our clients, and the insurance industry respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the ongoing evolution of medical science. To keep up with the pace of change, our medical teams have adopted a transformational mindset and immersed themselves more deeply within all aspects of the business.

In 2021, RGA doctors continued to closely monitor the latest mortality and morbidity outcomes, trends, and developments across all regions, informing everything from traditional underwriting and claims guidance to digital product development. Our collective medical expertise, which covers a broad spectrum of specialties, helped advance the work of not only RGA and our clients, but also the industry as a whole. Through a range of knowledge-sharing activities, including industry events, webinars, research papers, and articles, RGA MDs provided valuable learnings and informed perspectives for insurers seeking to navigate a dynamic business environment.

The growing demand for medical expertise, reflected in both our global MD survey and RGA’s own interactions with clients, will continue to expand the breadth of responsibilities and depth of involvement for insurance MDs. At RGA, we welcome this challenge and are committed to building on RGA’s status as a trusted, forward-thinking leader in delivering actionable medical insights.