Growing digital skills gap found within insurance industry

The insurance industry is increasingly struggling to find the right staff, with just one-quarter of workers in the sector prepared to use artificial intelligence (AI) systems.


Wednesday 16

Growing digital skills gap found within insurance industry

That is according to a global survey of senior insurance executives by consultancy firm Accenture, finding that four in ten believe a growing skills gap is the top factor influencing their workforce strategy.


It was also found that just 4% of insurers plan to significantly increase their investment in reskilling programmes over the next three years.


This is despite Accenture forecasting that matching the top-performing businesses for AI and human-machine collaboration training could boost revenues and employment by 17% and 7% by 2023.


“AI has the potential to boost innovation, growth and efficiency, but insurers’ hesitance to properly reskill their employees could limit its impact,” said Accenture’s global insurance chief, Michael Costonis.


“Insurers aren’t in a good position to win the war on technology talent. Executives need to think pragmatically about how they can bring new talent in, redesign jobs and reskill existing employees appropriately.”


Contrary to popular belief that AI will reduce jobs, two-thirds of the insurance executives expect the technology to result in a net gain in roles within their company over the next three years.


These are expected to include jobs that involve interpreting the results of algorithms, training computers as they learn, and ensuring they stick to their goal without crossing ethical lines.


The findings also show that 63% believe the industry will be “completely transformed” by AI, with a similar number expecting the future workforce to be a blend between humans and machines.


A separate survey of insurance workers found that two-thirds believe AI will create opportunities in their work, with almost three-quarters predicting their jobs will be simpler.


More than two-thirds think the technology will create a better work-life balance, while just 4% believe it will create more challenges.


“The benefits – including faster underwriting, quicker claims settlement and improved customer service – could be extraordinary,” Accenture’s financial services talent & organisation lead, Andrew Woolf, commented.


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