For the past several weeks we’ve been looking at how certain trends—primarily the digital revolution—are changing the insurance industry workforce. But what will the future insurance workforce look like?

Carriers are already focusing on leveraging digital technologies to automate work and tighten their operations. Digitalization is also causing them to change what and how they sell. It’s a rapidly changing playing field where not all insurers are fully equipped to compete.

Successful insurers go beyond using technology in innovative ways; instead, they plan for a dramatically different workforce that’s smaller, more agile, and differently skilled. And in many cases, that workforce will increasingly include artificial intelligence.

The future insurance workforce will see more collaboration at the intersection of humans and machines. Advances in natural interfaces, wearable devices, smart machines and other trends will present new opportunities for insurers to empower their workers through technology.

A study conducted by the Oxford Martin Programme found that many traditional insurance jobs are among the 50 roles in the U.S. that are most at risk from automation in the next few years. Among them are telemarketing, underwriting, claims and policy processing, claims adjustment and investigation, and damage assessment, to name a few.

The insurance workforce of the future: Why will do many insurers fail to achieve their digital potential?
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The availability of newer, smarter, cheaper technology will generate a shift in job descriptions away from administrators and task workers to creative thinkers, as more mundane tasks are delegated to machines. Rather than replacing skilled employees, however, sophisticated technology can help enhance their skills and make their jobs easier and more productive.

The human-machine hybrid workforce will create a smaller, leaner, more skilled insurance workforce. It will also require new talent and new skills. Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and middle skills will both be critical to bridge the human-machine divide, launch new business models, manage partners and serve customers with personalized offers. Reactive hiring and development programs won’t work, nor will old-style management approaches.

Insurance leaders should view this shift not just as an upheaval of their tried-and-true business models, but as an opportunity to produce better products and services.

Next week we will summarize our discussion of the changing insurance workplace and offer a few recommendations to fill the competency gap.

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The insurance workforce of the future: Why will so many insurers fail to achieve their digital potential?

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