16 Dec. 2020

From insurance to education, change is occurring, how will you make the most of this critical moment in time?

By EY Oceania

Multidisciplinary professional services organization

16 Dec. 2020
Related topics Education Insurance COVID-19

COVID-19 is reinforcing and accelerating the need for fundamental change in organisations, and for some, it has been a long time coming.

Like many sectors, education was dramatically upended in a few short weeks after COVID-19. Students in Australian schools and universities moved to remote learning via devices and the rapid increase in digital competency gained by teaching and administrative staff was remarkable. But beyond the changed learning environment, the shift proved something more profound and long-lasting: that education can move faster and embrace change more quickly than anyone previously thought possible. And now it has a major role to play globally, in economic recovery.

In the Reframe Your Future Series, host Natarsha Belling has tackled important questions for the education sector, with some of Australia’s most high-profile and dynamic leaders speaking candidly about how they are reframing their futures, both personally and professionally. 

Swinburne University of Technology Vice Chancellor Dr Pascale Quester Vice Chancellor describes her university’s role in Australia’s recovery as, “making sure that we’ve got a new cohort of people who are ready for whatever the future throws at them.”

Part of that will involve designing modules and pieces of learning that do not necessarily require a degree. Quester believes that employers want people with the requisite capacity, skills and knowledge; and that education needs to be customised to the individual and what they want and need at a particular time in their career, or in the transition from one industry to another. She points to the “flexibility, the agility, the customer centricity that comes from understanding that education doesn’t have to be a degree - or nothing.”

At the Australian National University (ANU) economists and academics are helping design programs to get Australians back on their feet, to help reduce unemployment and improve productivity. According to Vice Chancellor Brian Schmidt, ANU students and staff are encouraged to develop ideas and establish companies that will boost Australia’s economy, and the university will continue to invest in innovation, working with its partners in areas as diverse as bushfire prevention and renewable energy.

The Reframe Your Future series has also spoken about economic recovery with leaders in mining, transport, energy - and now insurance, with TAL CEO Brett Clark. The insurance industry was already undergoing significant shifts on several fronts before COVID-19 created additional pressures. Those shifts included profound regulatory change, rising consumer expectations, intense cost and competitive pressures and an increase in climate-change-related and other natural disasters.

One of the most significant disruptive themes facing insurers now is the impact of data and technology innovations – particularly how ‘big data’, connected devices and artificial intelligence may fundamentally reshape the industry. 

Clark talks of the investment insurers and indeed, all financial services businesses are making in digital capabilities to match the demand accelerated by COVID-19, especially in the way customers access products and services. But this must be balanced with the human touch.

Life insurers are deeply personal businesses, we deal with customers when they’re going through some of their most difficult times. You can’t digitise the human experience… It’s how we bring digital forward which enables human interactions with our customers and human empathy at really important times of people’s lives.
Brett Clark

Technological advancements will impact across the entire insurance value chain and lead to fundamental changes to insurance products and how they are distributed. They will also impact insurers’ business models and strategies and transform the whole eco-system of players operating in the industry.

This is so critical to the industry that it will reframe the ’purpose’ of insurance, giving insurers the opportunity to move away from being just viewed as ‘claims payers’, towards being more rounded, pro-active ‘risk mitigators’ for their customers.

Interestingly despite the difference in industries between education and insurance (or any other sector), the sample principle about having a willingness to change and to start the process of change, needs to come from within. 

Challenging the status quo will take courage. It will take commitment and collaboration. But the opportunity exists to take hold of this moment for change and make it happen.

Click here to watch more episodes in the EY Reframe Your Future Series with Natarsha Belling.


The higher education sector has endured reformations, revolutions, global wars and more in its history. Insurance too, has undergone massive change that is escalating now at a rapid rate. These are resilient institutions with a critical role to play in our society and in our economic prosperity. They will change, but they will they endure. It’s time to ask, are you reframing your future, or is the future reframing you? Please join the conversation.

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By EY Oceania

Multidisciplinary professional services organization

Related topics Education Insurance COVID-19