In my last blog I talked about how intelligent software is becoming central to the effective implementation of big data, taking on the burden of analysis and enabling new insights and innovations. I think this is just the beginning, and across a lot of industries including insurance we’ll continue to see innovations which allow humans and machines to do more, together. I talk through these ideas in this Technology Vision for Insurance podcast “Workforce Reimagined.”

The transformed workforce

A key consideration is what the workforce will look like in the future.
Many of the current roles in an insurance company have the potential to be replaced or augmented by advances in technology. For example, a high degree of automation is possible across underwriting, claims and service in all but the most complex of insurance lines. The administrative aspects of even these will likely see the application of robotic process automation. For instances which are more complex, but where “rules” can be defined through machine learning, intelligent software can be leveraged.

The real potential lies in situations where the nature of work is redesigned to uniquely blend human and technology capabilities. Basic examples of this today include claims adjusters remotely assessing auto or home damage by leveraging a customer’s mobile phone camera to complete the inspection quickly, efficiently and conveniently. For those inspections that require a presence in the field, wearable cameras and mobile wi-fi hotspots allow field claims adjusters to inspect damage more safely, and immediately share pictures or video feeds with other experts. Improvements in natural language processing and speech recognition technology mean that employees in risky environments can keep both hands on their safety equipment and still benefit from their wearable tech.

Another interesting example is a major US insurer that is planning to fly unmanned drone aircraft into natural disaster sites, to begin assessment much earlier, from an elevated perspective, without sending its employees into danger.

Challenges along the way

As the examples illustrate, insurers are already turning to machines—both hardware and software—to support and supplement their workforces. Human judgment and employees’ abilities are being augmented with technology, enabling people to make better decisions, work more safely, and become more efficient.

Like with most change in the industry, there will be new issues to work out.
Which jobs should be done by technology alone?
Which should be done exclusively by humans? How can the capabilities of both be blended to create the most value? How should we best make these decisions?

The workforce of the future will need to be trained for the blended work environment, and the skills they need will be different from those we traditionally look for. The skill profiles, recruiting sources and training methods we use today will need to adapt in order to capture the potential that comes with these changes.

The next generation of insurance, along with most industries, will include people and technology achieving more by working side by side.

If you’d like more information, please visit Accenture’s Tech Vision for Insurance.

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