Talent and Tech
Hamilton Insurance Group
I think our relevance hinges on two components: talent and technology.
Let's look at technology first. Is it self-evident to say our relevance revolves around technology? Yes, of course, it is. While we can acknowledge this as an obvious statement of fact, taking action is complex.
In spite of the best strategic intentions, the manner in which insurers and reinsurers embrace technology is often thwarted by legacy systems and old habits.
Many of our well-established carriers have been in the business for decades. M&A is increasing the number of large, publicly traded insurers. Purchasing or upgrading systems, hardware and software, and educating a multigenerational workforce about how to maximize these new tools, is costly and labor-intensive for a company of any size, but it's a material consideration for companies being held to quarterly performance metrics.
And given the importance placed on relationships throughout the industry's distribution channels, an increasing focus on data-driven operations can lead to a culture clash where the traditional ways of doing business are mightily resistant to change. This dynamic is symptomatic of a general complacency that's plagued our industry for years.
However, as emerging risks like climate change and cyber continue to evolve in real time, and as, increasingly, a premium is placed on the ability to gather and analyze data (also in real time), there's no room for complacency—not if we want to stay relevant, let alone increase our relevance. Systemic, organizational and operational changes are required.
And to unlock the value in technology and effectively respond to a world of new risks, we need the right talent.
Again, an obvious statement of fact, but one made against the backdrop of an industry that continues to grapple with an image problem and a talent crisis.
Few high school and undergrad students give insurance a second thought as a compelling career choice. Many look at the demographics of our sector and don't see themselves reflected. They also pigeonhole the industry as boring and conservative.
If we're talking about what makes us relevant, it's presenting opportunities to young people that resonate with their sense of self and their generational need for a sense of purpose. It's establishing work environments that genuinely and authentically acknowledge and welcome the diversity of the world we live in.
The irony is that solving the talent riddle is likely to address the challenges related to technology. The digital natives entering the workforce will have the skills we need to provide products and services that are relevant to the digital world. It's one they were born into, and one they understand well.
I don't think this is a chicken/egg equation. It's more a “build it and they will come” proposition: Offer a compelling reason to be part of an industry in flux to the right talent, and informed, astute choices will be made about what's needed to get the data-driven job done.