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How the insurance industry can benefit from gig workers in 2017 and beyond

16 May 2017
Ben Decker

Due to recent social, technological, and economic trends, these are volatile yet interesting times for the insurance industry. Insurers are faced with several significant challenges—but they also have more opportunities than ever before. Consider the following factors:

  • The aging population. In North America and Western Europe, a greater number of people are living longer. This means insured individuals are paying for coverage for a longer amount of time. However, it also places a heavier burden on insurance companies, especially when it comes to covering the medical costs associated with ageing-related ailments.
  • Cyber risk. Hyperconnectivity, borderless enterprises, the device mesh, the IoT, and XaaS (anything as a service). While offering unparalleled convenience, these technological developments also pose a significant risk to both individuals and companies. A breach in security can have a range of devastating consequences, including extortion, ransomware, forced downtime of a business, IP theft, and loss of sensitive data. While cyber risk offers a whole new line of coverage options, it’s critical for insurers to make sure their policies keep up with the rate of technological development. 
  • Big data and analytics. With the tools to record and analyze enormous amounts of data about everything from an individual’s heartrate to a car’s performance to even the precise volume of a farmer’s crop, insurers possess the ability to generate highly detailed risk assessments and fine-tuned coverage options.
  • Digitization. Consumers expect user-friendly digital platforms where they can purchase insurance and manage their policies round the clock. At the same time, insurers need scalable digital platforms that offer agile, high performing mid-office and back-end functions without compromising security. This digital transformation offers many opportunities for growth—so long as insurers have the talent to handle it.
  • Regulatory issues. Recent political events in the U.S. appear to herald a certain amount of deregulation for insurers. At the same time, however, the insurance industry will likely be faced with a wave of new regulations pertaining to cybersecurity.

Using gig workers

Amidst all this upheaval, there are several professional areas where insurers can benefit from augmenting their workforces with contingent workers:

  • Customer support: Instead of having to create and staff brick-and-mortar contact centers, insurers can leverage a virtual contingent workforce. This allows for fast ramping up and delivers experienced workers who need minimal training. When spread out over multiple regions, it enables 24/7 availability—all at a much lower cost than traditional call centers.
  • IT and technological talent: Insurers will need IT and technological talent to oversee and implement their digital transformations. A growing number of specialized technological talent like system architects prefer gig work, even if it’s onsite. Once the bulk of the work is done, they can train permanent workers in system maintenance.
  • Data analysts and scientists: These professionals are in high demand across all industries. Since data analytics is predominantly a cloud-based service, there’s usually no reason for analysts and scientists to be onsite. As a result, many will only accept remote work.
  • Compliance talent: Insurers will be under a lot of pressure to comply with security regulations. They can benefit from hiring independent compliance specialists who deepen their expertise day after day precisely because they do gig work. Additionally, in the event they need to do internal audits, they can bring in teams of ICs.
In today’s marketplace, insurers need to be agile and responsive. By including contingent workers in their workforce strategies, they can benefit from external skills and headcount when needed without compromising their flexibility. And that nimbleness almost no competitive company can afford to be without.


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