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How data science will affect recruitment in General Insurance

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​As the General Insurance market has evolved in recent years, we’ve seen a noticeable increase in the amount of technology being utilised by professionals and organisations. The rise of InsurTech is ongoing: In2018, US$3.188 billion was invested in InsurTech start-ups and scale-ups, which is almost double the US$1.65 billion investment of 2017. As more and more tech is employed in the insurance landscape, more data will be produced, with huge potential to shape the future of General Insurance.

Data and General Insurance go hand in hand: The market is shaped on the ability to estimate and measure the impact of future events, which big data can play a significant part in identifying. And while some might fear that the never-ending rise of tech in the workplace may threaten jobs within General Insurance, we predict that it will actually create new recruitment opportunities.

Risk assessment and fraud detection

Big data is predicted to have the biggest impact on pricing, underwriting and risk selections, along with helping to create better management decisions and improve loss control and claim management. Huge financial losses through fraud - which impact insurers - can be significantly impacted through data science, as big data can be used to match claims variables against past claims to determine how likely they are to be fraudulent. Details such as the behaviour of the claim maker, the network of people they associate with and other agencies involved in a claim can be arduous for a human to gather, but are much more easily accessibly through machine data analysis, allowing for more targeted fraud detection.

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Machines versus humans

For General Insurance firms striving to price risks correctly, statistics are everything. Actuaries and underwriters calculate probabilities and the financial consequences of risk, which, in the years before huge digital databases, traditionally relied on industry experience and human knowledge. Now, swathes of historical and live data provide insurance professionals with much more information to make pricing decisions, with insurers being able to purchase data sets from companies to help make their own data more accurate and therefore make better, more tailored pricing decisions.

Such widespread access to data will certainly help the wider General Insurance industry in assessing risk and pricing products, but will it threaten jobs that have traditionally been performed by professionals with in-depth industry knowledge?

Firstly, we can expect that data science will impact the way insurers and brokers interact. As it stands now, insurance companies employ salespeople to meet with brokers around the country and pitch for their risks in order to quote for their insurance clients. Technology and data pooling mean that new systems are now in play, such as Broker Insights, which aggregates data from brokers and stores it in a central repository. This means that the need for relationship managers within insurance companies is less, as the data can provide an instant snapshot of the panel each broker has, from which companies can then target their approach. For insurance professionals who are resistant to change and refuse to adapt to new technologies, this could be a threat to jobs – however, what we’re seeing now are more and more people upskilling in tech and exploring how data science can help, not hinder, their work.

While traditionally, years of experience were the most valuable attribute for someone working in General Insurance, the sheer availability of data means that people can make more informed decisions without the need for decades of learned experience. This is allowing for more diversity within the profession – if you can interpret data efficiently and are willing to use the tools available, you may now be viewed as of equal value to someone with more years of experience.

How employers are evolving

With 14% of jobs in developed countries deemed to be ‘highly automatable’, and a further 32% set to experience significant changes as to how they are carried out, it’s clear that technology is shaking up the labour market. Employers are now looking for more future-proofed behaviours from candidates, as opposed to the strict skills and knowledge criteria that has typically led hiring decisions. We’re seeing clients looking for creativity, learnability and change readiness, with the ability and willingness to adapt to change as key criteria when recruiting. Digital readiness is crucial for many, particularly in the data science-driven General Insurance space.

Are you ready for the digital revolution? At IDEX, we can help you make your next move within the ever-evolving insurance landscape. View our latest General Insurance jobs or contact us to start a conversation.