Background and Objective.—The traditional role of the insurance medical director is evolving. RGA surveyed insurance medical directors to provide an overview of their roles, skill sets, future trends, and their increasing and changing contributions to the insurance industry in recent years and throughout the current pandemic.
Method.—RGA conducted a first-of-a-kind global survey of medical directors in the insurance industry. The online survey took place from April to June 2021 and had seven key sections: medical experience and qualifications, roles and responsibilities, underwriting and claims capabilities, adapting to change, disease and product trends in insurance, challenges, and future opportunities. Globally, 124 insurance medical directors from 84 companies participated in the survey.
Results.—Respondents are an experienced group of medical directors, with 88% active in the medical profession for 10 years or more. Eighty-seven respondents (70%) dedicate the majority of their time to providing technical medical expertise. Forty-eight percent of medical directors were involved in medical issue briefings prior to the pandemic, and that number increased to 63% during the pandemic. Three of every five respondents (60%) reported a shift in underwriting to an emphasis on more competitive decisions, e-underwriting, and data analytics, while for claims practices, 35% reported a shift to more decisions being challenged and increasing complexity of claims and products. In addition, 31% of insurance medical directors are involved in product development on a regular basis. Only 50% of respondents reported a high or moderate level of investment from employers for training and development with their companies. Forty-three percent of survey respondents are interested in a change of role, especially those with less than 15 years of experience in the insurance industry. Medical directors see data and analytics (50%) as the largest area of development for future growth. Eighty-eight percent of participants surveyed believe that the future role of the medical director in the life and health insurance industry is promising.
Conclusion.—The future of the medical director role will require more strategic responsibilities, greater product development expertise, and stronger data and analytics skills to support insurer needs. It will be important for insurance medical directors to engage in conversations with their employers to discuss their current and emerging roles.