Bobbi Sills highlights five key takeaways from the CII's insurance innovation event
Innovating solutions to emerging risks was the theme running throughout the CII’s brand-new half-day digital conference – Shaping the Future of Insurance.
The June event brought together leaders from across the sector to consider what insurance professionals must do to address unmet needs for the future.
Here are five key takeaways:.
1 Risks on the horizon
Julie Page, president of the CII, kicked off the event by outlining four challenges on the risk radar for insurance professionals: climate change, pandemics, cyber threats and an ageing population. Understanding and managing these risks is where insurers excel but when put into practice, the question always lies in whether the profession’s balance sheet is big enough, noted Artur Niemczewski, partner at Arthur Fleming & Co.
He said: “What we bring to the table is the knowhow, the ability to understand how risks are evolving and the ability to address the bad events when they happen. The question is how we create a win-win partnership where we can tap into other financial resources.”
Julian Enoizi, CEO of Pool Re, said that access to data in the public sector and ensuring the right engagement with government are also crucial drivers: “The role of government is evolving because it is often the guarantee that the government provides that allows us to develop a business to provide cover.”
“Harnessing public-sector data on risks such as climate change and cyber will help inform the products that we need to be designing to mitigate against them in the future,” added Mr Enoizi.
“If we use that data and partner with them on an anonymised basis, we can figure out how problems are going to manifest in the future,” he concluded.
2 Adapting for an ageing population
With one in three babies born today expected to live to 100, we must adapt how we serve and support an ageing society, said Sarah McKenzie, head of consumer strategy and policy at the Financial Conduct Authority.
Older consumers are more likely than other groups to be vulnerable, meaning they may struggle to find and evaluate suitable financial products and services, acknowledged Ms McKenzie.
She said: “Consumers are being asked to take responsibility for increasingly complex financial decisions in later life. Yet, many lack the skills to engage with financial products and services.
“To make a real difference, workforces need the capabilities to recognise and respond to those needs.”
She continued: “We want firms to turn this understanding into practical action through their product design, customer service and communications, so that older customers in vulnerable circumstances experience outcomes that are as good as those of other customers.”
Morven Lean, senior strategic change manager at the Alzheimer’s Society, added: “We would like to see companies doing more to support customers who are digitally excluded, for example offering paper communication as well as online methods and supporting customers to navigate digital platforms.”
30% up to 30% of jobs could be automated or highly digitalised by 2030
Source: World Economic Forum
3 Make time for training
Nurturing a culture of learning and development is paramount in order to futureproof your career and your business, said Jon Cawley, head of claims operations at NHS Resolution.
However, Mr Cawley said training must be more than a tickbox exercise and needs to deliver a benefit to the individual and the organisation.
The first step is making sure development opportunities are funded correctly both on a financial level and in terms of resourcing, added Mr Cawley.
“Training has got to be hardwired into the fabric of the business. It is not just something you should be doing when you have a spare half an hour. It should be incorporated as designated and reserved time for everybody,” he concluded.
4 Communication is key
With digitalisation occurring at a rapid pace, the need for soft skills and clear communication is in greater demand than ever before.
Communication skills such as listening with intent and showing empathy are crucial to any well-balanced business strategy, regardless of which function you work in, noted Ms Page.
Peter Blanc, president of the CII, said improving transparency by ensuring policy wordings are clear and unambiguous should encourage greater conversations about what is not covered.
He said: “People don’t know what they don’t know and if left to their own devices, they will not buy the right products because they will simply buy based on price. We have to advise them about what they really need, what risks they face, what problems can occur and how to solve them.
“We must stay relevant by finding the things that can go wrong and helping clients solve those problems.”
5 Trusted profession
In 2019, the World Economic Forum predicted that up to 30% of jobs could be automated or highly digitalised by 2030, with financial services at the higher end of these estimates.
With that in mind, insurers must walk the tightrope between embracing the tide of digitalisation and identifying areas where human skills can add more value than a machine would, noted Matthew Hall, strategy and operations manager at the CII.
Ajay Mistry, partnerships director at Brokerbility, agreed that “knowing your customer is important and communication is key” to build and retain reputation and trust – two vital components in meeting unmet needs.
He said: “Start by treating every customer like they are new business. You need to prove that you are more than just a broker.”
Closing the event, Ms Page emphasised that achieving great customer outcomes should lie at the heart of innovation: “By showing empathy and listening with intent, we can now create a generation of insurance professionals who add broad value and who are seen as trusted advisers to businesses.”
To watch the conference on demand, visit: cii.co.uk/cii-events/shaping-the-future-of-insurance
For more information on what the CII is doing to tackle unmet needs, visit: www.cii.co.uk/cii-events/shaping-the-future-of-insurance
Bobbi Sills is communications executive of the CII