I continue my series of posts about the Accenture Technology Vision for Insurance 2017 by looking at “Workforce Marketplace: Invent Your Future,” one of five trends we see disrupting insurance over the next few years. This trend offers solutions to the problems insurers face in attracting ‘born digital’ professionals to replace retiring workers and in accessing much-needed skills in customer experience, analytics, artificial intelligence and other digital competencies.

Our survey of more than 560 insurance executives for this report reveals that many insurers are rethinking their approach to talent against a backdrop of relentless technology change. Some 62 percent indicate they plan to increase their organization’s use of independent freelance workers over the next year. One reason for this is how digital and collaborative platforms are making it easier to access talent-on-demand.

These offerings enable insurers to quickly look internally or to the external labor market to meet demand for skills. They offer efficient ways for insurers to plug gaps in their own capabilities—for example, accessing top user experience or data science skills as needed—and to efficiently speed new products or initiatives to market.

On-demand labor platforms like Freelancer and Gigster, which also provide online work management solutions, enable insurers to virtualize part of the workforce. Next-generation digital tools like Slack and Google Hangouts, meanwhile, orchestrate communication for newly virtualized and distributed workplace environments.

23 percent of insurance executives currently view freelance workers as a seamless part of the workforce

  

Taken together, this allows insurers to efficiently plan, manage and oversee the remote execution of work, in turn enabling companies to leverage both internal and external workers—the blended workforce. This means that they can, for example, continue to draw on retired workers who wish to work part-time or pull in the skills of high-end professionals as needed.

Nearly 30 percent of insurers in our survey are already using platforms such as Gigster, Upwork and Catalant at large scale or broadly across their businesses; another 48 percent use them in select business areas. For those who haven’t yet begun, these platforms offer a low-risk approach to testing how they might leverage the contingent workforce in their businesses.

75 percent of insurance executives believe leading organizations will seamlessly blend their internal and external workforces into a borderless enterprise with five years

 

From these experiments, insurers can begin to transform their workforces more broadly. In time, we expect to see most insurers take a marketplace-like approach where people from the internal and contingent workforces can be teamed together on-demand from project to project, based on skills, knowledge and staffing needs.

Those who invest in people innovation today will unleash human potential and creativity, and by evolving their corporate structures, fill in a missing piece in the digital revolution.

You can read the Accenture Technology Vision for Insurance 2017 Full Report, Executive Summary and infographic for the highlights of our research.

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