Few insurers have invested significantly in preparing their workforce to work with AI and intelligent machines—and that will hinder them on several fronts.

Conventionally, AI is seen as a tool to improve efficiency, make capital more productive and reduce jobs. While that’s true, at Accenture we consider how AI can be applied in more nuanced ways than just automation. We look at the combination of AI and human ingenuity, applied across the enterprise. We see a future of new opportunities where AI can help humans solve complex challenges, develop new products and services, and break into or create entirely new markets. We call it “applied intelligence.”

To better understand the extent to which organizations are prepared for the changes that AI will bring to the workforce, Accenture Research conducted the cross-industry Future Workforce Survey. The insurance results are pulled from interviews with 100 CEOs and top execs and almost 1,000 insurance employees, spanning 4 generations and all skill levels. All respondents worked at large organizations.

First, the good news. Insurance executives see AI as critical to their future success: 63 percent believe intelligent technology will completely transform the industry, and 72 percent say AI will be critical to their organization’s ability to differentiate itself in the market. What’s more, workers are optimistic about using AI in the workplace: 61 percent expect AI to expand their career prospects, and 75 percent say it’s important to develop skills to be able to work with AI in the next 3–5 years.

But here’s where things get sticky: insurance leaders believe just 25 percent of their workforce is ready to work with AI and 43 percent said the growing skills gap is the most important factor influencing their current workforce strategy. Despite this, only 4 percent of insurers plan to significantly increase their investment in reskilling over the next 3 years.

In other words, insurers are not meeting the demands of their workers, nor of the marketplace. This lack of investment doesn’t just affect insurers’ ability to reskill their existing workforce, but also hinders efforts to retain and recruit people. More broadly, not investing in AI training will radically curtail their ability to deploy and benefit from AI at scale.

Over the course of this series, I’ll look at the three actions that insurers can take to elevate their workforce to be able to generate the most value from human-machine collaboration: reimagine work, pivot the workforce and scale up “new skilling.”

Learn more about the Future Workforce Survey. To discuss how Accenture can help your organization prepare workers for applied intelligence, please get in touch.

Future Workforce Survey for Insurance


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