Clews, who has been in the world of insurance for about 28 years now, sees two big ones that the “great industry” she loves is poised to benefit from, including the changed way of working.
Following the pandemic, the Ando executive believes there are more opportunities now both for insurance workers looking for flexibility and for companies looking to attract talent.
She told Insurance Business: “Parents, [for instance], get more of an opportunity now to come back into the workforce. There’s more opportunities; there’s more flexibility to allow people to be more successful in growing in their career – with some people who have not been able to get back into the workforce, to now be able to do so with that greater flexibility that that hybrid model allows.
“In our organisation, we’ve always had a really strong people-centred culture. We have worked hard to maintain that with the new hybrid model, but formalising it, I think, has been really, really powerful.”
In Clews’ view, there’s a benefit for firms that have now embraced the less traditional route.
“The people that we’ve been able to get back in [include] men or women who may have moved to provincial areas because of that change of lifestyle,” she noted. “People are living outside of the centres and are now being offered the opportunity to work remotely.
“I think the benefits of getting some of those great people back really does allow for some amazing people that otherwise wouldn’t have been able to come back into the workforce or would have had to change into other businesses or disciplines.”
Clews added: “While COVID was a terrible time, and I think all of us struggled, I think the opportunity to allow that true flexibility is really good. I personally love it.”
To go along with the “amazing people,” meanwhile, is the use of technology to help the customer.
“At Ando, we definitely believe that insurance is a relationship and not a transaction,” Clews told Insurance Business. “I am seeing a number of other industries who have a great online presence and platform, but they’ve gone so far the other way, almost hiding or removing that ability to contact a human or to talk through any questions or concerns that customers have.
“As an industry, I don’t think we should lose sight of the fact that we need to connect, support, and be there for customers on whatever medium or platform they require. You might have the best online solution, but that customer – it might be an 18-year-old or an 80-year-old – they want to choose their happy path. And I think we should allow customers that choice, so if somebody wants to talk to somebody and feel that connection, they should be able to do so.”
Removing the ability to contact a human is “just not the way forward,” said Clews, who believes the challenge is to improve speed to get a resolution as quickly as possible and solve a problem for that person in that moment of need.
“I think technology is a big opportunity for the industry,” declared the claims partnerships and services head. “That’s going to enable the future – using technology better to remove wasted time. When I say ‘wasted time’, I mean admin and double handling. There’s a real opportunity to do that, and just focus primarily on the customer…
“That’s where we see the real opportunity – understand what the customer needs and solve their problems and take the pain away. At the end of the day, insurance is sometimes seen as a grudge purchase; [customers] want to feel that when it comes to their moment of using that policy, that it’s simple and it’s easy.”
Clews, noting “many good things” are coming, is “super excited” for this year.
What do you think are the some of the opportunities for the insurance industry in New Zealand in 2023? Share in the comments below.