Three game-changing technologies (the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and blockchain) are not only shaping the digital services and solutions the insurance industry offers, but also its workforce. They have the potential to fundamentally transform the skills required; the way work is performed and managed; and the way workers are supported by technologies.
Take the IoT, for example. A recent Accenture survey revealed 45 percent of insurers believe connected devices will be a driver of revenue in the next three years. Wearable connected technology is already changing the insurance market, with several life & health companies experimenting with reward-based programs for healthy behaviors. A growing number of auto insurers provide their customers with telematics devices to record their driving patterns, while household insurers offer intelligent home-monitoring solutions, both in exchange for lower insurance rates.
All of this will result in a substantial change in the way customers perceive insurers. Since their data will be much richer and more personalized, customers will expect to be treated as individuals. The frequency of interaction will be much higher, requiring an increase in the size of service teams and improved interpersonal skills.
Artificial intelligence is also starting to transform the insurance industry significantly. In health insurance, for example, employees will no longer have to read through voluminous records to calculate the correct reimbursement fee for each patient. A natural language processor can scan each record, understand and analyze the content, and calculate the correct payment. The process for each form has shrunk from 25 minutes to three minutes – which includes a 15 second human review to validate the results of the algorithm.
This will undoubtedly lead to some job losses in the insurance industry. But it will also create numerous new jobs, in areas ranging from predictive analytics to programming, monitoring, and system maintenance. It will impose the need for employees in insurance to change jobs and find agile ways of working.
The newest game-changing technology with the potential to impact the insurance industry and its workforce is blockchain. It offers great promise for insurers looking to improve risk-recording, personal information management and document sharing. However, there is a dearth of professionals whose skills bridge the worlds of blockchain and financial services. Leaders in insurance will have to get creative in order to hire, train and support the right talent.
Here are four steps to understanding these new technologies and capitalizing on their growth potential:
- Sense: Map the start-up ecosystem and form partnerships to understand the latest developments. Work with “front-line” employees, at all levels, to identify opportunities for using the new technologies effectively.
- Interpret: Have an internal team evaluate the various technologies identified in step one, determine which are most relevant to the organization, and predict their impact. Track their price-performance ratios to identify the best time to begin adopting them.
- Act: Begin to implement these technologies incrementally by selecting the parts of the organization where they have the greatest potential to make a difference.
- Train: Prepare your workforce for new skills required to adapt to the new technologies. Implementation of the project needs to be underpinned by a skilled team that is comfortable to receive the changes these innovations will bring to the workplace.
Read Andy Young’s in-depth look at these three technologies and their impact on financial services human capital management.
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