Talent Hunt: Finding, Attracting, Retaining Top People
Doug French | December 10, 2015
(Editor’s note: During the summer of 2015, EY interviewed executives at approximately 20 leading US insurance manufacturers, distributors and reinsurers as part of an ongoing effort to understand how the life insurance and annuity industry can surmount current challenges and move forward. The objective was to understand the views and concerns in the eyes of industry executives and stakeholders and to outline the industry opportunities and challenges from the perspectives of customers, distributors and manufacturers. The interviews focused on the global economy, innovation, distribution, talent issues and consumer protection. This is the fourth article in a five part series, where EY will walk through the key findings. You can read the first article here, the second article here, and the third article here.)
Talent management and human capital issues have become so critical to the industry’s future outlook that one survey respondent expressed a belief that the chief human resources officer had the most difficult and most important job in the C-suite.
The talent shortage affects every layer of the organization, with a lack of sufficient candidates to fill senior executive roles and significant gaps in technical skills. In seeking top, executive-level talent, the industry seems less lucrative than others, nor especially cutting-edge.
Then there are the generational issues; the insurance industry is simply not attractive to young people, respondents believe. The industry’s image as staid, risk-averse and only interested in profits simply does not appeal to the brightest and most promising young people, who likely view technology companies as their employers of choice. Diversity—both cultural and geographic—is another dimension. Several executives commented that the employee base must ultimately reflect its future customer base.
Executives recognize the deep need to find new talent—such as data scientists and digital experience designers—is not merely about burnishing the industry’s image. Rather, the industry will bring more data scientists and more skilled IT resources on board, largely because a larger resource base in these areas will likely drive market leadership. As one executive stated, companies “that can use and make the most sense of data will have a competitive advantage going forward.”
Undoubtedly, there is a clear and pressing need to replace an aging workforce, especially in critical areas like underwriting. Multiple respondents also highlighted the need for more “people” people in the industry. In addition to a variety of quantitative skills, new insurance talent must still possess the desire to help people.
Taking a more strategic view, the talent gap reflects the need to foster innovation-centric and entrepreneurial cultures and to develop next-generation capabilities. There is an opportunity for the industry to tell a clearer and more persuasive story about its mission and important societal role in helping individuals and families secure financial protection. The rising generation of workers is seeking such purpose as they choose their career paths. We need to talk about our values and how we have to be good stewards for the future, as our people have done in the past. As one responded stated, “We have to walk the walk.” Here again, doing well and doing good are synonymous.
Talent management programs will continue to evolve, with more opportunities for enhanced acceleration of careers. This is important for demographic reasons, thanks to “a generational shift in expectations,” cited by one respondent, who added, “Digital natives have come to expect more transparency in terms of their opportunities.” The agent network could certainly stand to get younger, if only to smooth the transition of appropriate business to digital channels.
These generational shifts in expectations portend the need for the HR function to change, as it may be a microcosm of the overall need for industry transformation. Many respondents believe new performance measurement systems will be established, with greater flexibility in work locations and a rethink of both geographic footprints and real estate strategies.
We believe the talent questions are “another face of the relevancy question,” according to one executive; insurers must “look relevant as an employer in the same way can we look relevant as a product provider.”
What Survey Respondents Say
- “No one wakes up and decides that they want to go into insurance.”
- “Financial services companies are heavily regulated and slow moving and we are competing against cool companies for talent.”
- “[We have the] same problem attracting talent as attracting customers.”
- “We want our employee base to look more like our future customer base, which means more diverse in age, outlook ethnicity, religion… There are geographic implications, too—you can’t be representative if you’re not in locations that are representative of your population profile.”
- “Digital natives have come to expect more transparency in terms of their opportunities. There is a generational shift in expectations.”
The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Ernst & Young LLP, the global EY organization or the Insurance Technology Association. Doug French is the managing principal of the Insurance and Actuarial Advisory Services practice within Ernst & Young LLP in New York. He can be reached at email@example.com.
- Enterprise Architecture in an Agile World
- Top 10 Tips for Securing Your Mobile Devices and Sensitive Client Data
- Industry Insight: 4 Global Insurance Trends in Digital, Data, Content Services and Security
- Diving Deeper into Prioritizing Your Strategic Digital investments
- Why Content Rules
- How Mass Personalization Will Open the Small Business Benefits Market
- At Year End 2017, Will Your Organization Be Protected from Cyber Risks?
- Do Insurance Bots Dream of Mitigating Risk?
- Conditioned to Respond
- Managing & Mobilizing Insurance Data in a Connected World
- Race to the Finish Line
- New Tools, New Opportunities in Claims
- ITA LIVE: Reaching Insurance Industry Crossroads
- Advice to Insurance IT Leaders: Keep Your Eye on the Ball
- New Date, Venue for ITA LIVE 2017
- Guidewire Makes Major Push to Small and Midtier Market by Acquiring ISCS
- Insurance Disruption is Happening Right Now
- Insurity Adds Strategic Investment Partner, General Atlantic
- Beyond Transformation: The Convergence of Finance, Risk, and Actuarial Functions
- The Rapid Evolution of Consumer Protection Regulation
- Talent Hunt: Finding, Attracting, Retaining Top People
- Insurers Flexing Their Distribution Models
- Technology Driving Disruption in Insurance
- Fear of ‘Next Bubble’ Challenges Life, Annuity Carriers
- Technology Allows Commercial Lines Insurers to Stand Out
- Single Sign-on Viewed as Biggest Tech Challenge for Agencies
- ISCS Observes 20th Anniversary; Scurto Predicts Major Changes Ahead
- Policyholders and Their First Impressions
- Progressive Making Progress on the UBI Front
- High and Dry: Insurers Search for Disaster Recovery Plans
- Insurers Sign The (Un)Dotted Line
- Reflections of a Retired Insurance CIO
- Mobile Device Management Just One Answer to BYOD Issue
- Lessons from GEICO and Progressive on Winning the Critical Buying Stage
- You Are a Target for a Cyber Attack
- Web-based Systems are the Next Evolution in Claims Technology
- Gaining a “Wow” Experience from Web Users
- Time to Shift from Business/IT Alignment to Business/IT Alliance
- Healthcare Insurers Changing to Consumer Model
- Organization is the Key for Selecting Software Vendors
- Analysts Expound on the Needs of the Mid-tier Insurance Market
- Finding the Cure for Obamacare’s Website
- New Software Solutions Benefit Insurers on the Inside and Outside
- Products, Market Impede Investment in Systems for Life Insurers
- Combatting Cyber Threats: Predict, Prevent, Persist
- The Future of Telematics Heads Beyond Insurance
- The Shame in Cyber Security Lapses
- Building Policy Administration Systems for the Future
- Insurers Look Into The Eyes of Their Policyholders
- It’s a New Dawn for the ITA
INSURANCE IT NEWS
- Desjardins General Insurance Group Deploys EIS Suite for Commercial Lines
- Acuity Modernizes Customer Communications Management with OpenText Exstream and ValueMomentum
- COUNTRY Financial Joins Roost’s Home Telematics Program
- Roost partners with The Weather Company
- Majesco Launches Majesco Digital1st Insurance, an Innovative Next Generation Platform Solution as the Foundation of a New Business Unit
- New Release of EIS Group’s ClaimCore System Delivers Dental Claims Management
- Westfield Streamlines Commercial Lines Underwriting Through New Verisk and Duck Creek Technologies Integration
- MADISON MUTUAL INSURANCE CHOOSES ROOST HOME TELEMATICS SOLUTIONS
The Email Chat is a regular feature of the ITA Pro magazine and website. We send a series of questions to an insurance IT leader in search of thought-provoking responses on important issues facing the insurance industry.
ITA is pleased to present the 2014 Webinar Series. We have many topics for you to choose from and attendance is open to all ITA members. The webinar topics are current and exciting — ranging from predictive analytics to telematics and will focus on the direction insurance carriers need to follow for the future. All webinars are presented by insurance IT professionals along with some of the leading analysts and consultants in the field. There is no cost to attend an ITA webinar. For more information and to register for the webinar, click the “title” of the webinar below.
BLOGS AND COLUMNS
It has become a common refrain over the past few years to view the practice of enterprise architecture (EA) as something that time has passed by, much... READ MORE
One important trend in society over the past decade is our increasing ability to create and consume a seemingly unlimited amount of digital content... READ MORE
You have surely heard it said that small businesses are the growth engine for America. Today, the phrase has a special ring to it for benefits... READ MORE
With stagnant growth and lingering low interest rates, the life insurance industry faces a challenging future... READ MORE
Finding insurance carriers willing to write commercial lines risks has always been a challenge for producers... READ MORE
As Guidewire Software prepares for the start of Connections, its 11th annual user conference that begins on Nov. 2, Brian Desmond, chief marketing... READ MORE
Fraud detection has always been and will continue to be a critical component of claims management. Learning the lessons from current claims Straight... READ MORE
- Vendor Views