Differentiated products and services are the key to growth among life and annuity carriers. Underwriters are ready to help drive this new growth, but they need the right tools and training. Insurance companies have already invested in a number of new technologies, such as artificial intelligence and automation. Now they have to invest in the people who use that technology. In short, insurance companies need to reshape the role of insurers by integrating technology with human ingenuity so that they can add to the insurance value chain. What will reworked insurers look like? They will be tech savvy masters. They will know how to use new underwriting platforms that include built-in data analysis and predictive models. They will use their skills to provide deeper insights and improve emission efficiency, without compromising on robust risk management.
Preparing a future-ready insurance staff
But they are not there yet: the skills of underwriters are lagging behind the new technology. The value of technology is limited if people do not know how to use it properly. Insurance companies need to find ways to bring their workforce into line with their reworked roles, ready to work in a new era of intelligent insurance dominated by data, AI and automation.
There are different ways to strategically invest in a talent strategy that provides a future-ready workforce. One is to adopt a holistic four-point model for talent supply that includes:
- invest in the existing workforce,
- borrow talent from external talent pools,
- automate tasks using bots and AI,
- buy talent, either individuals or acquire organizational functions.
The good news is that insurers are eager to learn. More than 90 percent of the underwriters we surveyed at the end of last year mentioned improved education and skills development as a priority.
But insurance companies will need to re-evaluate their current training models. The existing apprenticeship model helps beginners to build up competence by working together with experienced insurers on simple life insurance matters. As AI and automation increasingly handle these simpler cases through a sales channel directly to the consumer, insurance companies will need to find new ways to train the next generation of insurance talent.
One approach would be to combine human and machine learning, train insurers in data analysis functions so that they can better understand how computer models work and use them to train machines.
Invest in underwriting talent
Investments in education can generate benefits in addition to upgrading the existing workforce. It can also be a powerful recruitment tool. Millennial and Gen Z cohorts, in particular, are looking for employers who will provide them with marketable, in-demand skills. They also value stability, security and some of the more traditional markers of career success according to Universe 2021. Combine all this with their positive view of insurtech innovations in health and well-being, and L&A companies have a strong position to attract qualified candidates from the where the talent pools. And what kind of new technology and insurance processes can these new employees expect to face? Some of the technologies identified as top priorities to increase the effectiveness of issue guarantees today and over the next three years include modern policy / guarantee platforms; external data, data cleaning and data quality to improve risk selection, prevent / detect fraud; data analysis and management reporting; and robot process automation.
With the proliferation of AI and automation in the industry, insurance companies must also consider their talent strategies within the framework of business flexibility. Technology alone is not enough: insurance companies must also understand how human ingenuity and empathy can best serve their business. They need to understand where AI and automation can enable human ingenuity to flourish.
Ultimately, to get the most value from these many changes, carriers must successfully integrate technology and human ingenuity, so that everyone can thrive both together and independently for the benefit of the customer and the company.
Underwriters from our survey said they were optimistic about the technology their companies have adopted because they see first-hand improvements in the emissions guarantee. Let us make sure that these investments reward their optimism by creating business strategies for top- and bottom-line results in addition to upgrading and retaining insurance talent. Let us have a conversation about investing in your future insurance staff.
Get the latest insurance industry insights, news and research delivered straight to your inbox.
Disclaimer: This content is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to be used in consultation with our professional advisors.