I believe that the last of three actions carriers will need to take to fully benefit from the Internet of Things (IoT) is probably the most critical: prepare for the future of work.
Recent research from Accenture and the World Economic Forum suggests that the Internet of Things (IoT) will enable every worker to be a knowledge worker. IoT capabilities make it possible for insurers to augment existing skills, build more collaborative and autonomous working environments and create entirely new categories of jobs. For example, a mix of e-commerce, cloud, analytics and real-time data from wearable sensors could easily turn underwriting into an all-digital process—freeing underwriters to take on new, high-value, customer-facing roles, such as cross-product sales specialists or ecosystem relationship managers or some other position that doesn’t yet exist.
Getting there, of course, will require specific action. Based on our research and experience, here are a few ways that life insurers can prepare for the future of work:
- Embrace a truly digital workforce, requiring a mindset shift from the traditional.
- Decentralize working environments, helping to delegate decision making to workers on the front line.
- Evolve or create new organizational structures that allow workers to learn and collaborate more creatively with counterparts in partner companies.
- Invest in new skills and processes that enable humans to work effectively with machines, while maintaining personal connections.
The IoT promises to open up new markets and revenues for life insurers through innovative personalized service and a more productive workforce. Growth won’t come, however, without fast, strategic action to adopt digital-powered models, exploit data and equip people to work in new ways. It’s time to get started.