Insurers are competing against other industries in the fight for data-savvy, tech-proficient, creative people—and right now, insurers are losing the talent war.

If you were a talented data scientist, AI expert or an all-around tech-savvy, creative person, would you choose to work for an insurance company? Or would you follow the money to the GAFAs or pursue creative glory with a start-up?

In their current state, most insurers are not in a position to win the talent war. And without the right people, it will be difficult to achieve the transformation needed to become a creative, compelling organization to work for. This in turn will make it more difficult to win the talent war…and so the spiral continues.

Insurers must be realistic about their prospects of attracting people. The GAFAs have deeper pockets than most, so what can insurers offer instead? Enabling flexible, creative, value-added work is a must. Another tactic could be emphasizing the social benefit that insurance provides, which could resonate with younger workers.

To capture the value that AI creates, insurers must make an urgent shift in their workforce strategy.

Insurers must make an urgent shift to prepare their workers to work with intelligent machines. Over the course of this series, I’ve shared three actions to help insurers recreate their workforce:

  1. Reimagine work to better understand how people and machines can collaborate.
  2. Pivot the workforce to areas that create new forms of value.
  3. Scale up “new skilling” to enable people to work with intelligent machines.

Taking these steps can also help insurers address two other workforce imperatives: capturing knowledge from an aging workforce and recruiting new people.

Insurers are on the brink of a brave new world wrought by AI.

At Harvard, a team of pathologists created an AI-based technique to identify breast cancer cells. On its own, the AI achieved 92 percent accuracy. That’s pretty good, but not as good as the doctors: 96 percent. But the combination of doctors and AI accurately identified 99.5 percent of cancerous biopsies. There’s no question that AI will help insurers become more efficient, but applying AI in more nuanced ways, like these doctors did, can lead to more interesting, rewarding—and surprising—outcomes.

If insurers want to reap rewards from applied intelligence—the enterprise-wide application of synthesizing AI with human ingenuity—they must take urgent action to fundamentally reshape their workforce. They can create jobs that have never existed before. Traditional roles would have someone manage a particular product to profitability. Instead, insurers might have someone monitor the market for new opportunities and proactively develop the next new service offerings. “Set it and forget it” used to apply equally to products and people, but it no longer fits in a world where people and organizations need to be agile, flexible and creative.

Successful insurers will be those that can enable synergy between humans and machines. They’ll give rise to products, services and business models that will fuel growth and continuously adapt with speed and scale. They’ll face the future, fearlessly.

Learn more about the Future Workforce Study. To discuss how Accenture can help your organization take the necessary steps to win the talent war, please get in touch.

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