Insurers could see the first signs of real financial savings

Osteointegration prosthetics and bionics for amputees may start to pay dividends for insurers for the first time in 2018. Insurers' reluctance to fund new technology, if not offset by lower care costs and reduced future losses (e.g. loss of earnings), may soon be a thing of the past.

The high level of military application for these technologies together with various prolonged conflicts has generated large cohorts of amputees. The resultant increase in demand has led to significantly faster product development. For example, in the last five years, bionic technology has developed from the knee to the ankle. This has resulted in higher limb costs, as twice the technology – both knee and ankle functionality – costs around £100k.

Advances in titanium osteointegrated implants, which connect prosthetics to the body, are affording users greater comfort. 2018 may be the tipping point for this technology, which is set to give users such improved functionality that insurers may see reductions in other heads of loss, such as care needs and loss of earnings.

Difficulties with insurers running their own clinical studies due to the short product lifecycle may begin to be less acute. This is an attractive proposition for insurers, allowing them to assess risk and mitigate future losses as never before. Indeed, with the advent of smart technology in this area looking likely in the next few years, insurers would do well to begin the investigative process now.

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