Insurance faces skills gap from automation
A senior insurance executive is warning that there could be a skills gap in the insurance industry as older workers retire leaving a workforce lacking in some of the industry’s basics. Darren O’Connell of Australia’s Suncorp Commercial Insurance says that with entry-level insurance roles being replaced by automation there will be an increased proportion of workers without the knowledge of risk assessment and pricing that insurance professionals have traditionally gained. In a research paper O’Connell noted that automation will not take over all insurance roles as the human element is still key: "You are always going to need people with the experience and expertise to properly determine risk appetites, manage the performance of portfolios and create new products.” He wrote that the industry needs to work hard to attract the right talent and keep experienced mentors in the sector to pass on their wide experience.
Canada pledges $50 million for climate risk insurance
The Canadian government has pledged C$50 million to help those in developing countries protect against economic consequences of climate change. As part of the G7 Initiative on Climate Risk Insurance the funding will go towards providing 400 million with insurance against climate change risks by 2020. "The risks and costs of climate change on developing countries are very significant and Canada is proud to do its part in providing greater access to insurance," said Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change.
Kaiser to acquire Washington State insurer
Californian-based Kaiser Permanente has announced that it is to acquire major Washington State health insurance company Group Health Cooperative. There is strong synergy between the two insurers as both provide healthcare alongside insurance and both are non-profits. Kaiser will pay $1.8 billion for the Seattle organization and will establish a health-improvement foundation for the city’s residents. Nasdaq reports that Kaiser has not made any significant acquisitions since the 1990s but that it is now looking to expand beyond its current geographical footprint and will make further strategic acquisitions when deals such as the Group Health one emerge.