The workforce is now a marketplace and customers demand sophisticated simplicity. What’s an insurer to do?

Insurers are focusing more heavily on people than in the past. Accenture’s 2017 Technology Vision for Insurance research shows they are keenly aware that both workforce composition and expectations of internal and external customers are shifting.  Suddenly, they must forge new kinds of relationships with a highly diverse workforce at the same time they are responding to and reinventing the relationships they have with consumers.  The balance of power has shifted.

Trend 3 — Workforce Marketplace

The new workforce marketplace has been spurred on by the convergence of three forces: technology advances, digital disruption and shifting attitudes toward jobs. To understand this, we need to look back a bit.

Insurance companies have traditionally bolstered staff with temporary or contract workers, and more recently with off- and on-shore workers. These arrangements usually involved working within the office and the work was often transitory.  The security and benefits associated with permanent jobs made staff jobs the choice for most skilled workers. But things have changed.

Technology advances that make it easier to work anywhere and at any time have created a surge in on-demand labor platforms and online workforce-management solutions. These labor platforms and other digital tools allow insurers to plan, manage and oversee remote work, leveraging both internal and external workers. This means that organizations are no longer limited by local time, local talent or by the skills of their own permanent employees.  Such rapid innovation requires organizational changes, which, in turn, is leading to digital transformation.

Currently just 23 percent of insurance executives view freelance workers as a seamless part of their workforce, but this is changing rapidly. Our research shows that 75 percent believe that within five years, leading organizations will seamlessly blend their internal and freelance workforces into a borderless enterprise.

Meanwhile, digital disruption in the form of ecosystem partnerships, insurtech startups and competition from many other sources is making new demands on insurers to transform their organizations.  And that requires them to rethink their approach to talent. Demographic disruption adds more pressure. Half the insurance workforce is 45 or older and a full 25 percent of insurance workers are expected to retire in or around 2018. Meanwhile, existing workforces lack crucial digital competencies like analytics, artificial intelligence (AI) and customer experience.  It’s no wonder that almost 80 percent of insurance executives surveyed feel pressured to innovate their workforce and corporate structure for competitive reasons.

The third factor in this mix is that attitudes toward jobs and work are changing. Members of the younger generation of workers — and increasingly older workers and retirees — are open to freelance careers and expect collaboration technologies at work. In contrast with the temporary and contract workers of the past, these workers see more security, more earning power and more opportunities to improve skills when they work multiple gigs than with a single employer.  And these employee attitudes can work to the company’s advantage as labor platforms and collaboration tools allow insurers to find the skills they need both internally and externally.

WeGoLook, for example, can dispatch 30,000 ‘lookers’ to collect real-time data, photos or video for insurers to use for property inspections or claims, simplifying the traditional issue of serving clients where an insurer has little or no presence.  Using a tool like Duck Creek Mobile Field Adjustor with cloud-based services such a Duck Creek on Demand, these ‘lookers,’ other freelancers and employees all can quickly the capture information and safely access core insurer systems.

As Duck Creek’s largest and most experienced implementation partner, Accenture can work with insurers along their journeys, helping them choose appropriate technology and business structure to realize the gains they want.

Trend 4 — Design for Humans

Being human means wanting more, and the insurance industry is working overtime to understand just what that more really means. Simple personalization seems as stale as yesterday’s bread when competitors are offering their customers tailored ‘living services’ aligned to the individual’s or company’s behaviors and goals

This is really happening. Technology is changing the insurer’s role to one of a partner who can address the customer’s real goals – well beyond traditional insurance.  Insurers can now provide customers with personalized assessment, risk pricing and more tailored coverages.  They can price auto insurance, for example, based on actual car usage instead of traditional underwriting techniques.  Insurers can focus on the customer’s prevention and recovery needs, becoming the Everyday Insurer, rather than the Crisis-Only Insurer.  And the relationship can be enhanced with more “natural human” interactions — by machines and humans — driven by adaptive technologies.

Successfully designing this kind of customer relationship isn’t easy.  It requires complex data, analytics and delivery, something for which most insurers depend on a partner. Crucial decisions must be made on architecture that bridges the traditional disconnect between the digital front and internal processes and creates an intuitive people-focused user experience.

One answer could be the Duck Creek suite of products that are fully integrated to provide a smoother experience.  Accenture’s wide experience in this area and its Intelligent Insurance Solution powered by the Accenture Insights Platform allows it to unearth, connect, and understand Duck Creek data. This can be combined with Fjord’s insights into the needs of customers, resulting in relevant, elegant and simple user experiences for agents, customers and any other users.

Clearly, the stakes are high for insurers. The next generation of industry leaders will be the organizations that understand human motivation and design customer experiences accordingly. That’s not just our view; it is shared by 80 percent of insurance executives we surveyed.

Next week, we’ll complete our discussion of insurance trends and how insurers can tap into these trends to reinvent their business.

For more information read: Technology Vision for Insurance 2017: Duck Creek

 

Earlier posts in this series:

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