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The future of skills in the insurance industry - what’s in store for 2021?

12 Jan 2021
With over 50% of general insurance firms stating they’re suffering from a skills shortage, Account Executives need to do all they can to get ahead. Paul Davey, Director (GI Regions) at IDEX Consulting talks about how hard market skills, lifelong learning and the rise of insurtech are key areas for Account Executives to focus on.
 
The insurance industry is in the midst of a skills shortage, with top companies struggling to nurture and attract talent. This deficit is further compounded by a new type of insurance company - InsurTech, which is fundamentally disrupting the way the insurance industry operates. As a result, the need for digital and traditional skills is greater than ever before. 
 
Here are three ways Account Executives (AE) can capitalise on the skills deficit, and excel in their career.
 

Learning hard market skills

Right now the general insurance industry is experiencing a hard market, which many AEs haven’t been exposed to before. Brokers and AEs who have joined the market after 2005 will not have experienced reduced cover and increases in premium costs anywhere from 100% to 500% before, which can be difficult to navigate. 
 
It’s vital that AEs are able to negotiate and communicate with clients during this challenging time. One way AEs can overcome this is by accessing training from their employers, and seeing what support is out there. For example, AEs could shadow other seasoned AEs and Brokers so that they can learn how to work in this type of market. 
 
Duncan Leask, Managing Director of Denis O. Brown reinforces this further, saying:
 
“In 2020, upskilling everyone on adapting to a hard market being high up that was a big focus for us. We invested time and resources in coaching on the impact of a hard market. This included utilising the leadership teams experience, and calling upon external support from insurers and third parties. Clear communication and clarity of strategy from the insurers has been key to our successes in improving in this area”.
 

Work for an InsurTech company

The insurance industry has always had a perception problem, which undoubtedly doesn’t help this skills shortage. From Lloyds of London being scrutinised for their workplace culture in a 2019 survey, to a general lack of understanding in regards to the good that the insurance industry brings, it certainly brings challenges. 
 
Matthew Wilson, Group CEO of Brit Insurance and sponsor of the London Market Group’s talent work-stream agrees saying:
 
“Insurance as an industry has a perception problem: the societal good we do is not well recognised, and we all need to do more to get those messages out to the talent we want to attract.”
 
However, as InsurTech proliferates, they are able to present themselves as modern, dynamic technology companies, turning this negative perception on its head. 
 
For example, the UK’s first insurtech advisory app, Brolly, is powered by AI and provides customers with information about whether they are over-covered or under-covered. Brolly also recommends cheaper alternative policies that have the same coverage as users’ previous insurance. It also offers a platform for users to manage their current policies, purchase policies online and contact insurers.
 
InsurTechs are continuing to raise the bar, and they’re able to attract and retain top talent, thanks to their innovation, working environment, flexibility and collaboration.
 

Training and lifelong development

Building lifelong skills and development is a crucial part of every AE’s career progression. However, our 2019/20 UK Account Executive Insights Report had shown that 54% of AEs did not receive any sales training or support in the last year, and 73% of AEs stated that their employers didn’t provide a structured career plan. 
 
There have been instances where InsurTech companies understand just how important lifelong learning is for their employees, thus making it part of their culture and ensuring that their staff can continue to develop their skill set. One Managing Director of such a firm commented: 
 
“It’s vital that insurers invest in their current employees by offering them continued learning and development, in order to keep them interested. We offer our team a range of webinars, online learning courses and workshops, as well as hands-on training, so that they can progress in their career.” 
 
While the skills shortage might seem like it’s all doom and gloom, that’s certainly not the case. In fact, this offers AEs a brilliant opportunity to progress in their career and capitalise on the current skills deficit. You can choose to work with insurance companies that will give them the means and methods to enhance your career. After all, your future is in your hands - if you’re thinking about taking the next step in your career, then get in touch with Idex. 
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