3 minute read 18 Jun 2018
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How insurers can adapt to the future of work

By

David Hollander

Former EY Global Insurance Leader

Transformation leader in insurance. Committed to help strategically reshape the industry’s business model for today’s digital age.

3 minute read 18 Jun 2018

Despite the implications of new technology, attracting, leading and retaining the best talent will continue to determine who succeeds.

The work performed by insurance companies is undergoing a radical shift. The convergence of human, technological and market forces will reshape roles and processes from product design and sales, to underwriting and claims, to the back-office functions of finance, actuarial and IT. Here are just a few of the technological changes to expect:

  • Robots and software will assume responsibility for the vast majority of transaction processing and number-crunching in underwriting, claims, finance and other areas.
  • Chatbots enabled by artificial intelligence will handle basic inquiries regarding application or claims status, policy renewal and claims settlements.
  • Sensors connected to the IoT will gather real-time data about environmental conditions, water flows, driving habits and patterns, human activity and heart rates and other data.
  • Drones and satellites will inspect properties and communities — either to assess risk before policies are issued or to evaluate damage after weather events.

Yet despite the transformative technology, human talent will be more important than ever in this new world. In fact, it will be a top priority for senior executives and boards because the ability to attract, lead and retain the best people will determine who survives.

The human workforce will be increasingly focused on maximizing and enhancing the customer experience because there will be fewer human touchpoints overall. Reorienting processes, practices, skills and technology for newly emerging products and customer propositions will be another key priority.

Roles and reporting lines will shift as dynamic and self-managed cross-functional teams become more prevalent. Individual responsibilities will expand, with people flowing across functional lines, and roles will be increasingly filled by contingent, remote and outsourced workers.

Four traits that encourage survival — and success

Many companies have established innovation units and alliances with InsurTechs to get ahead of the curve. These are worthwhile steps but are not sufficient by themselves to prepare for the future. Insurers must develop all of the following:

  1.  Clear vision of how future work will be performed
    Automation will be a top priority. Initial investments must be accelerated and expanded, with human resources focusing on higher-value tasks related to new product design, analysis of customer behavior, upsell and cross-sell opportunities, and anomalous or high-risk claims.
  2.  Framework for making strategic choices
    The most important step is to prioritize investments based on their ability to activate the company’s purpose, deliver immediate returns and promote sustainable growth. Senior leaders must have the tools and data to make the right choices because they can’t invest in everything at once.
  3.  Deep capabilities in talent development
    Recruiting and retention of high-potential staff, more effective training and human capital management should be high-priority investments as people are a key source of competitive advantage. Though there will be fewer workers, the remaining high-capacity or high-capability employees will be in high demand. Employee experience will become a key part of operational strategy.
  4.  Culture that inspires and enables innovation
    Significant organizational change will be required to instill a “disrupter” culture capable of adapting to constant change. Senior leaders will be expected to inspire more creativity, raise comfort levels with risk-taking and cultivate a “first-mover” mindset among their teams.

Summary

Human talent will be more important than ever in the new world of insurance work. These workers will primarily focus on maximizing and enhancing the customer experience, as overall there will be fewer human touchpoints.

About this article

By

David Hollander

Former EY Global Insurance Leader

Transformation leader in insurance. Committed to help strategically reshape the industry’s business model for today’s digital age.