Insurance companies are not known to adopt new technologies and change easily. One thing I keep noticing when talking to insurance professionals is the lack of understanding of new technologies and trends in the insurance industry. People are fast to use terms like AI, Blockchain and Cryptocurrency but most of them cannot see beyond the buzzword and understand how those technologies can actually create value for their daily tasks in particular and the insurance industry in general.
This lack of understanding is one of the main reasons why insurers are reluctant to change. Change does not happen only on technology but first and foremost on people. And if not even management understands the changes that are happening due to new technologies, an organization will not succeed in digital transformation. This is why HR plays a crucial role when it comes to the digitization of the insurance industry. They are in charge to get their people future ready.
In order to get an organization future ready there are three stages: Understanding Change, Developing New Skills and Acquiring Talent
The first step is to help top and senior management understand change. Industry news are filled with articles on InsurTech, Big Data and Blockchain. However, most managers do not understand what those terms actually mean or what are the use-cases in the insurance industry in general and how this can translate into an advantage in their specific area. Workshops and trainings help managers understand the new world and why insurance has to change in order to remain competitive. This is crucial to achieve a shared understanding and develop a digital strategy.
Developing new skills
Once there is a shared understanding of new trends and technologies, people need to develop new skills. The most important skill is to become more analytical and enable data driven decision-making. The insurance industry commonly works with business intelligence (BI) tools. In general, BI is giving information why something has happened in the past by analyzing historic data. With Big Data Analytics, however, real time data and predictive models help understand a current situation and allow to make more precise prediction for the future. Managers but also regular staff need to learn how to read data and use those tools in their decision-making process.
New technologies such as AI and Blockchain require advanced new skills that are not always trainable. Thus, insurers need to hire new talents in those fields. Unfortunately, those professionals are not available in large numbers and insurers are competing not only among each other but also with other industries. We are witnessing a true war for talents at the moment. HR needs to identify successful sourcing strategies for those talents and build an attractive working environment and design competitive packages to be able to attract those professionals.