Talent competition to figure strongly in insurance next year

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"Winning the war for talent" is a shared objective for both life and non-life insurers next year, according to EY's 2020 Insurance Outlook.

Though the workforce in insurance is aging, insurers can't simply rely on organic turnover to bring in workers that are "comfortable working with advanced technology, intuitively understand the need for personalization, and are capable of working in new ways." EY writes in the report, authored by Ed Majkowski, Americas Insurance Advisory Leader; Isabelle Santenac, Global Insurance Leader and Luca Russignan, EY Global Insurance Knowledge Leader.

EY's report outlines four key actions that should be taken by companies depending on their line of business. The talent piece is shared by both life and non-life, as is increasing operational efficience and cost efficiency. For non-life insurers, the other two key actions are digitizing customer experience and collaborating with 'big tech' and insurtechs; for life the remaining two are delivering financial wellbeing and managing regulatory pressure.

But it's talent that will determine insurers' success rates with all other key actions, EY says: "Forward-looking executives recognize that the right talent and skills are necessary to realize the full value of technology and transformation investments."

P&C insurance workforce levels have risen over the past decade, but that's likely to change as automation takes over certain administrative tasks. Therefore, the modernized P&C workforce will include underwriters that "examine emerging data sets including those from connected sensors and IoT devices, not just the information submitted within applications" and claims professionals that "will become problem solvers, as bots will handle most processing."

Life insurers will need to adapt similarly to increased automation. But attracting the right talent will require some cultural changes. EY suggests loosening dress codes, adapting remote work and focusing on presenting a clear mission that provides purpose to their employees.

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