Investment in disruptive technology must provide a payout for the workforce as well as the business and its customers, says Peter Ingram
There is no doubt that technology is changing the way brokers operate. However, when we think about the major technologies disrupting the insurance profession, we tend to think about those that are streamlining processes and driving efficiency.
While insurance brokers are switching to digitalised claims handling and encouraging customers to use self-service apps and online portals, back-office processes are being overhauled by robotic process automation.
But there are also external disruptors. Take autonomous vehicles -- as we enter the era of driverless cars, brokers must turn a corner and find a new approach to vehicle insurance.
"By exploring technologies that improve wellbeing within the workforce, brokers can broaden their efforts towards becoming more agile"
It is easy for brokers to get caught up in rapidly emerging technologies, as well as the possibilities they present. Yet these examples are centred around business productivity and customer satisfaction. By exploring technologies that improve wellbeing within the workforce, brokers can broaden their efforts towards becoming more agile.
More than 50% of all organisations globally have difficulty retaining some of their most valued employee groups, according to a recent Willis Towers Watson study. Research by Kronos and Future Workplace finds that 87% of HR leaders consider improved retention a critical or high priority for the next five years. The insurance profession cannot be immune to these trends.
With so many innovative HR tech solutions coming to the fore, it can be difficult to know what is worth investing in. But a good start would be considering integration, scalability and compliance with existing HR and payroll systems.
The ability to scale up easily is paramount; a worthwhile technology must incorporate autoscaling -- available through any technology built with microservices from AWS, Google or MS Azure. Autoscaling should also bring the cost down for the business because the technology provider only pays for what they use, meaning they are not overpaying for servers that they are not yet using at full capacity.
Compliance and data security are vital factors and although it has become a saturated talking point, the General Data Protection Regulation is also. Again, this is where a product supported by reputable microservices will provide the best possible value, because they ensure the back-end activities happen in a safe and compliant manner.
The world is quickly adapting to the demands of younger generations who crave instant gratification and are now beginning to represent the majority of the workforce. If businesses are to remain relevant to those younger generations, attracting and retaining an agile workforce will be key. Brokers must think about how they too can adapt to better suit their lifestyles in the way the likes of PayPal, Uber and Airbnb have forced whole industries to rethink the ways they operate.
While there are plenty of technologies emerging that are designed to help businesses address this very issue, it is essential that those technologies will deliver a return on investment, adding true value for both the broker and the worker while providing simple integration, robust security and unlimited scalability.
At a time of falling insurance premiums and increased competition, the insurance industry is ripe for disruptive HR technologies that can result in better staff retention and improved business productivity, ensuring customer satisfaction is guaranteed.
Peter Ingram is CTO at Hastee Pay