Digital wires2

The rise of digital has been unstoppable in every sector. It’s seen fundamental change take place across many industries, with traditional paths to the consumer disrupted by new technology.  

For some this has created huge opportunities. For others it’s meant challenges; even the risk of becoming obsolete. But for most it’s been a mixture of the two through changing consumer expectations, new market entrants and increasing competition.

Our latest report, Insurance Disrupted, identifies nine ‘killer applications’ that have the potential to disrupt the General Insurance market over the next ten years. For insurers, and the wider Financial Services industry, the big question is how to react to these seismic shifts in an industry which, by its very nature, has a reputation for risk aversion.

One of the best ways any insurer can make this transition, and introduce innovative thinking to its organisation, is through its people.

But, talent is an issue the industry has been wrestling with for some time. Deloitte’s Talent in Insurance Report for 2014 found it was an unpopular career choice for graduates, with just 0.2% of UK business students seeing insurers as the “ideal employer”.

Attracting and retaining the right kind of talent must therefore become a top priority for many insurance companies. Scottish insurers may be uniquely placed to lead the agenda on this. Here’s why:

Leading the charge: With a large financial services community and a burgeoning tech scene full of innovative companies, Scottish insurers can lead the agenda on talent. By tapping into the skills coming out of these tech businesses, and Scotland’s education system, insurers can seek to harness some of the creative, innovative thinking that the industry desperately needs. FanDuel and Skyscanner are just two examples from the growing Scottish tech scene that come to mind. In addition, Scotland’s gaming industry, with businesses like Rockstar and 4J Studios, could help insurers look at the possibilities of gamification in the industry. There’s plenty more where they came from too, giving insurers access to highly sought-after talent which may not be available in other areas of the country.

Attracting scarce talent: I’ve already mentioned that digital skills are in high demand. That is only going to increase in the years to come. Insurers need to find ways of becoming more competitive if they want to attract the right talent. That in itself will require some insurance firms to make big changes; overhauling the work environment to create one more conducive with what digitally skilled people want and expect. That could mean giving some staff the freedom, space and resources to explore new ways of working, new business models and new services; even if it doesn’t have a guaranteed initial outcome. Having areas of the business like this, where innovation is encouraged and agile working is the norm, could help catalyse change across entire organisations and may help to stimulate creative thinking among existing staff.

Looking beyond the sector’s shores: Given the industry as a whole struggles to attract digital talent, it’s no good looking to other insurers for lessons. They need to be looking beyond their own shores to find out how to attract the people they want to hire. Tech companies, which are the usual destination for the digitally-savvy, are a prime source of inspiration for this. How do they reward staff? What kind of culture do they encourage? How do they nurture innovative thinking? How do they use other people’s skills? A good example of the latter is the airline industry, which rewards ethical hackers with free flights for spotting weaknesses in their IT security. It can be a difficult transition moving from a tech start-up to a corporate environment; and one many might not be willing to make. These are the sorts of things insurers will need to consider if they want to attract digital talent.

Ultimately, talent will be what separates the insurers who make the most of digital, from those that are left behind.

Attracting and retaining the right people with the right skills will be challenging. But those who achieve this will take great strides ahead of their competitors and will be best positioned to meet demands of the ever-shifting insurance landscape.

What are you doing to attract the best digital talent? Share your views by leaving a comment in the box below or tweeting us on @DeloitteScot.  

You may also be interested in:

Insurance Disrupted
Recruiting beyond the risk averse
Senior Insurance Managers Regime: four things you need to do ahead of Solvency II
The race for talent: how banks can keep up with graduates' demands
Household insurers see profitable year in 2014

 

Hurley, Rich Photo

Rich Hurley - Partner, Consulting

Rich is a Partner in Deloitte’s Consulting business, specialising in Insurance business and technology transformation. Rich leads Operational Excellence for insurance both in the UK and EMEA. He is the Lead Client Service Partner for Lloyds Banking Group Insurance Division as well as Zurich Financial Services.

 

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