November 23, 2017 by David Gambrill, Editor-in-Chief
While it remains to be seen whether or not the industry’s anticipated move to automate “paper pushing” roles over the next decade will spawn major job losses, the industry may have an easier time attracting youth to the more advanced roles that emerge.
“Certainly, there has been much anticipation that technology will start to eliminate certain roles, and that the numbers of people required in the industry to ‘shuffle paper’ will become redundant,” said Margaret Parent, director of the Insurance Institute of Canada’s professionals’ division, responsible for the Institute’s Demographic Research study.
“But I think insurance as a career choice will be even more attractive to university grads if and when the job becomes more problem solving, advising and serving customers in a proactive or preventative way, rather than just ‘shuffling paper’ and ‘processing information.’”
Technology and attracting new talent to the industry are key themes uppermost in the minds of industry executives these days.
RSA Canada president and CEO Martin Thompson caused a stir on Nov. 15 when he predicted at an Institute breakfast that automation through technology could shrink the Canadian property and casualty (p&c) insurance workforce by up to 40% over the next decade.
His comment reflects a broader industry discussion about how skill sets will need to change to fill out the remaining and emerging roles. Thompson said automation would likely affect underwriting and claims roles the most, with people in those areas applying their skills to resolve more advanced underwriting and adjustment files.
The Insurance Institute is due to present its latest industry demographic study sometime in 2018. One of the key outcomes of the study will be to determine how education programs such as the Chartered Insurance Professional (CIP) designation will need to evolve to include increased learning of complex risks for the insurance professional of the future.
“While we will continue to require a pipeline of talent coming into the industry, new entrants will need to be a higher-level candidate since they will start in roles where they are assessing more complex risks without the opportunity to learn on simple risks, since the simple risks will be automated,” Parent said.
She added it will be interesting to see if the demographic research study concurs with Thompson’s “projection of a decrease in the workforce of 30-40% in five to ten years is on the right timeline.”
Despite Thompson’s forecast of a contracted job market, Parent believes insurance has been of particular interest to recruits over the last three years, and says she looks forward to how it will evolve over the next five to ten.
“Our Career Connections team has already witnessed a heightened interest level in insurance careers on campuses across the country from university and college students, not to mention the increased enrolment and the rise in the number of full-time college programs. People are interested in insurance as a career and are choosing the education path into the industry.”