Consumers today want the experiences they have with their insurers to mimic the best experiences they’ve had with other providers. Seamless interactions across channels, personalized and relevant offers, and better service are table stakes.1

In response to these evolving demands, insurers are rethinking how they will deliver winning customer experiences. Some, for example, are collaborating with InsurTechs to fast-track their innovation agendas.2 Others are going it alone, investing significantly in customer-centricity to become “living businesses” that constantly evolve and consistently deliver the hyper-relevant services consumers now demand.3

Regardless of the approach insurers take, they will need a future workforce that is able to win the war for customers. Creating this battle-ready workforce will require insurers to rethink the nature of work and the nurture of talent.

Redefine the future of work

The vast majority (86 percent) of insurers believe they must innovate at an increasingly rapid pace simply to retain a competitive edge.4 Accordingly, they are investing heavily in new technologies to drive new levels of efficiency, agility, collaboration and service.

Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotic Process Automation, natural language software and advanced analytics are already changing the nature of traditional roles in claims, underwriting and other areas. Machines are enabling people to deliver better and differentiated capabilities to the customer. We have found that a third (33 percent) of senior insurance executives have already significantly redesigned jobs to create these types of collaborative, augmented workforce experiences.5

Consider the potential impact of advanced analytics, AI and big data on the role of the actuary. Even the best proprietary models can’t compete with the insights afforded by deep learning through AI. But to take advantage of what technology has to offer, the traditional role of the actuary is shifting toward data science. Similarly, new algorithms are automating risk analysis and changing the nature of claims. Automation will reduce fraud, increase the speed of claims processing, and remove the need for humans in simple transactions. As a result, the role of the claims agent will become much more specialized. To handle complex transactions and facilitate filing claims via multiple channels, the augmented agents of tomorrow must be more analytical and savvy with mobile and virtual tools—while retaining their human, customer-facing skills.

To keep pace, insurers must invest in predicting both the skills of the future and the tempo at which the workforce needs to be retooled. But reskilling alone is not enough to create a workforce that can deliver the solutions and service that customers will demand. Successful insurers also will reimagine roles and ways of working to foster collaboration and innovation.

Re-imagine talent

As roles change, insurers are struggling to attract and retain the future workforce they will need. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics has shown an uptick in open jobs in the Insurance industry over the last 3 years with an upward trend in both the types of jobs and the number of job openings.6

Today, insurance has a more mature workforce and more traditional, full-time direct employees than other industries. The good news is that insurers have (or are creating) the very environment millennials and Gen Z workers are seeking. The 2017 Gen Z Rising study shows that the stability, opportunity for growth and training, and investments in disruptive technology offered by insurers are very appealing to the future workforce.7

However, closing the gap between talent demand and talent supply will require a broader view of the workforce. Contractors, freelancers and other non-traditional workers now account for 45 percent of all workers and are expected to make up 70 percent of the workforce by 2024.8 Developing a model that plans for, attracts and empowers this adaptive workforce will be a challenge for a very conservative industry.

Redesign with HR

Navigating this change will require new sourcing and staffing models. As different functional areas invest in automation technologies, leading HR departments are investing in tools to manage and develop adaptive workforces. It has, in fact, become an industry imperative to not only develop new talent models before competitors, but to create new learning environments and drive rapid upskilling among traditional and non-traditional workers, alike.

Technologies are once again helping with the transition. Some insurers are applying advanced analytics to simulate the pace of change and ensure adoption of new technologies. This is forging a closer link between traditional HR organizations and the operating units within the business. These operating units are also demanding advanced strategic workforce planning capabilities so that they can understand what their workforces will look like in the future, while also responding to today’s cost and market pressures.

Insurers looking to win the next generation of customers need to embrace today’s disruptions or they will surely lose market share to more responsive competitors. New technologies, new ways of working, new types of workers and new skillsets will differentiate tomorrow’s leading insurers from today’s. By building agile workforce models, insurers can build a future workforce uniquely positioned to deliver the results they seek.

Accenture, “The voice of the consumer: Identifying disruptive opportunities in insurance distribution,” 2017.

Accenture, “The rise of InsurTech,” 2017.

Accenture, “Insurance as a living business,” 2018.

4 Accenture, “The rise of InsurTech,” 2017.

Accenture, Insurance findings from the Future workforce CXO survey, 2017

6 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, NAICS 52 (insurance industry workforce)

Accenture Strategy, “Gen Z Rising” 2017.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, NAICS 52 (insurance industry workforce)

Russell Klosk

Senior Manager – Accenture Strategy, Talent & Organization


Enhancing business insights using data analytics and AI
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