Accenture research shows that P&C insurers expect digital transformation to drive premium growth. But while insurers have plans to use technology to drive change, many have not paid equal attention to an important piece of the puzzle: talent.

To succeed, insurers need workforces that are lean, agile and willing to embrace change. Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills will be critical to unlocking the potential of data and analytics and digitized processes. Soft skills, too, will be needed to collaborate, foster innovation and deliver personalized customer experiences. Adding to the issue is the growing talent gap as fewer young workers replace retiring workers.

Insurers on the digital frontier

Given a shrinking workforce, insurers need to recognize the talent changes that the future demands. For example:

  • Underwriters will need to generate more meaningful insights to carry out complex risk assessments. This will entail working with data scientists, leveraging data inside and outside the company, and using new tools and sophisticated analytics.
  • Claims agents will need tools and data to help them be service advocates at a crucial point in the customer relationship. They must be empowered to be front-line problem solvers, and equipped with the insights needed to make sound judgment calls and resolve issues through multiple channels.
  • Product developers will shift their focus toward developing and delivering customer outcomes. This will likely mean collaborating with customer experience specialists to develop new products and services and design customer interactions.
  • Innovation advocates will need to develop a “fail fast” environment to foster new ideas and innovation, and shift the focus from internal products and processes toward external opportunities. They will be champions of idea incubators, pilot projects and experiments to rethink the insurance value chain.
  • Ecosystem architects will emerge as more insurers join digital ecosystems and collaborative partnerships. These architects will be instrumental in identifying opportunities for insurers to partner with other players and coordinate living services that deliver greater value to customers.

So that’s great news—digital disruption will bring new and innovative positions within the insurance industry. But then again, only 2 percent of recent grads express interest in working in an insurance company. Join me next week as I discuss insurance’s image problem, and what we can do about it.

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