Wednesday, 30 October 2019
How to futureproof yourself in the rapidly changing insurance space
by Paul Murphy
As an insurance professional, you know all about protecting against future risk.
But it’s time to consider the risk that the future poses for you if you don’t adapt to the disruptive technologies that are reshaping insurance jobs of the future.
From claims assessors to brokers, underwriters to loss adjusters, actuaries to risk managers, smart insurance professionals are starting to futureproof themselves.
Why? Because both customers and employers demand more from insurance professionals today than they ever have before. And you’re expected to be tech-savvy, multi-skilled and adept in personal relationships.
Do you have the right skills to meet these expectations and ensure you remain relevant in your role?
Here are five things you should concentrate on in order to succeed in your insurance role in the face of rapid technological change.
1. Developing Communication Skills
Wherever you sit in the spectrum of insurance services, arguably the most important skill in your role is that of being an effective communicator. As the robots march forward, your human ability to connect with others and get your message across clearly and persuasively will truly showcase your value. Depending on your responsibilities you may be communicating with clients, colleagues, team members, senior mangers and other stakeholders.
Ways in which you can improve your skills in this area include:
Communicating consistently and promptly. Set a realistic time frame for your response, and don’t leave it to the other person to follow up. Keep them updated about your progress towards a resolution.
Take any opportunities offered at work, or in your professional or industry association, to make presentations to others. Start small if necessary, presenting to a small group, and work your way up. You could get some expert help by joining a Rostrum or Toastmasters club. Become known as a great communicator.
2. Nurturing Relationships
Tech advances mean that some insurance roles are under threat from automation, particularly broking, underwriting and claims processing.
However, you’ve got one key leg up over automated systems. If you’re a broker, for example, no machine can take the time to personally walk a client through a policy, offering insights about what best suits their individual situation, while simultaneously identifying additional opportunities for business. But you can.
If you’re an underwriter you can offer insights beyond what is provided by AI analysis of data collected by the Internet of Things (IoT). Making a decision about a non-standard risk profile may involve developing relationships with brokers and clients. Participating in product development could see you becoming part of a team that spans several areas of specialisation in your organisation, where strong personal relationships will help you break down barriers and truly add value.
Your investment in relationship-building will allow you to do two important things beyond the scope of machines – personalise the situation, and add value beyond standard expectations.
3. Staying Up To Date With Tech
It’s likely you’re already familiar with cloud computing, and you’ll have heard of big data and blockchain, even if you don’t exactly know what they mean or your organisation isn’t currently using them. And, there’s plenty more to InsurTech.
But you need to ensure you’re up to speed on not just what they are, but how they can help you (yes help, not take your job away).
Do you know what your future holds in the face of the insurance industry’s increasing adoption of AI and Robotic Process Automation (RPA)?
Some mundane tasks will be left to machines, allowing you to focus on developing your analytical and strategic skills, thereby adding more value.
What about how IoT can assist?
Here’s a current example from the car insurance industry.
Metromile, a San-Francisco based insurer, offer a pay-by-the-mile based premium, significantly reducing their overall premium rate.
They give customers a free dongle to plug into their car which the company then uses to track miles. It also has an in-built GPS that connects to a mobile app, helping customers locate their car in a parking lot, or alerting them should their car need maintenance, way before a problem occurs.
Using IoT, Metromile have created a highly personalised – and brand new – form of insurance. Other US-based insurers have been naturally quick to follow suit.
This is just one example of how tech can positively impact the insurance industry. Your job is to adopt it to make your role easier, freeing up your time to focus on the more important skills you possess: building relationships and communicating with clients, colleagues and senior management.
4. Broadening Your Specialised Product Knowledge
It’s a given that to succeed in insurance broking, you’ve got to be familiar with the risk landscape, the products being offered to mitigate them, and the needs of customers.
But in today’s insurance market there are new risks, such as privacy or cyber breaches, climate change or building construction failures, to name a few.
Don’t let yourself be locked into a too-narrow specialisation. Life insurance experts should develop knowledge about insurance products for SMEs. Property insurance specialists need to brush up on their understanding of trauma insurance. What about insurance for tradies or farmers, or professional indemnity? A broad knowledge of all facets of your industry will always pay dividends, and may lead to increased revenue for your organisation.
5. Being Ever Curious And Always Learning
It’s vital to stay up-to-date no matter where you are in your insurance career. Remaining relevant in your role depends on it.
There are plenty of continuing professional development opportunities available for brokers, for example. But whatever your insurance role is, you can go another step with a formal qualification.
For example, a Diploma of Financial Services can help you further hone your problem solving and analytical skills, as well as give you extra strategies for managing customer relationships.
ANZIIF offers tailored Skills Units at Foundation, Intermediate and Specialised levels for Claims, Broking and Underwriting.
Reach Out To Us For More Assistance
Insurance professionals who nurture these five skills are highly likely to be the winners in a competitive and ever-changing market.
Here at Ensure, we’re always keen to connect with candidates like you. With a wide network and strong business relationships, we’re well placed to find you an opportunity that allows you to showcase your skills, and grow your career far into the future.
Get in touch today for a confidential chat.