In the previous post in this series, we talked about the challenges facing insurance CFOs as they seek to drive new value from analytics and other innovative technologies.

Our research shows that insurance CFOs are among the leaders in adopting new technologies – for example, insurance scores among the top three industries in our “CFO Reimagined: from driving value to building the digital enterprise” survey for adopting artificial intelligence (AI) in the finance function. Insurance is also more likely to use machine learning on data sets, facilitating real-time analysis.

However, sophisticated data analysis calls for specialist skills, and here we see a major hurdle for the industry. Insurers should be hard-pressed to hire and/or train the talent needed for the kind of analytics these tools enable.

Insurance CFOs told us they are struggling to recruit and retain the talent they need. They are more likely than CFOs in other sectors to see talent shortages as a barrier to achieving their strategic ambitions.

“The life insurance industry is a tough industry to recruit for,” a divisional CFO at a global insurer told us.  “Most people with the skills we need would be more interested in working for Google or Amazon.”

To fill these requirements, insurance finance functions surveyed are experimenting with various approaches including:

  • Creating a collaborative and agile environment to ensure connectivity and cross-departmental sharing of ideas and insights (52 percent);
  • Empowering and enabling the existing workforce to develop new skills (46 percent);
  • Removing traditional finance silos and pooling resources across functional departments (43 percent);
  • Using external experts and consultants (42 percent);
  • Engaging with the tech ecosystem through accelerators and other avenues (27 percent); and
  • Acquiring start-ups (23 percent).

The talent issue is a major concern, but it’s only one factor that insurance CFOs are expected to address as they reimagine the finance function for the digital future. In the fourth and final blog in this series, we’ll review some key priorities for CFOs as they work to position themselves and their organizations for profitable growth.

To learn more: 

Click here download the full multi-industry study on the changing role of the CFO.

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