The insurance industry needs to think about hiring for tomorrow. As society transforms with the influx of technology and digital innovation, consumers are demanding more from insurance companies. They want portals, chatbots, and easy-to-use websites. More importantly, consumers want the valuable services they’ve always received, but with greater speed and efficiency.
It’s a balancing act for insurance firms. Too much technology and not enough expertise will decrease the value of the services being provided. Likewise, great expertise with slow and inefficient delivery will also cause consumers to question the value of their purchase. This is the equation that forward-thinking insurance companies are trying to find the answer to.
In the excess and surplus lines (E&S) insurance space, companies “seem to be doing the right things […] and investing in great areas,” according to Joel Cavaness, president of Risk Placement Services (RPS). Many firms have identified the value of incorporating strong data practices into their businesses and using artificial intelligence (AI) to maximize data proficiency and speed up processes.
Chicago-based RPS is one such specialty insurance firm to take the leap and invest in digital innovation. But the CEO is aware that success results from insurance expertise enhanced by digital innovation.
He told Insurance Business: “One thing we often talk about is hiring for tomorrow and hiring people that have the right skillsets for what your business needs down the road. I think future generations are going to have different skillsets and they’re going to have an ability to look at things in a different way.
“In terms of digital delivery, it’s important to remember that not everyone wants to buy on a digital platform. Some people want to pick up the phone or do business in person. Younger generations seem much more accustomed to buying things through a digital platform – and it’s not just the simple everyday stuff. While many people start with buying their auto insurance online, they’re moving beyond that now to buying renters insurance and business insurance policies online. This translates into consumers’ willingness and desire to get onto a digital platform and get a quote or a deal 24/7.”
A digital platform is just one way to distribute product. As Cavaness pointed out, many consumers still want personal interaction and the ability to ask questions. This leads back to the technology / expertise equation that insurance companies are grappling with. Oftentimes, digital platforms cannot provide the flexibility that a human being can because they’re set up to provide cookie-cutter, efficient delivery. They lack the body language, tone of voice, and the emotional intelligence that a human being can bring to communication.
The future is promising, according to Cavaness. As 2019 president of the wholesale and specialty insurance association (WSIA), he has witnessed first-hand the exciting ideas and creative energy flowing out of the association’s under-40 group. For younger generations that have grown up with technology, enhancing insurance expertise with digital innovation is an exciting prospect. As Cavaness put it: “You can hear the noise and feel the energy. The insurance business is an exciting place to be.” a