Credit for all photos in this post: Don Pollard

Retaining and recruiting talent has been a priority for years, but the pandemic changed how insurers approach these needs, a panel of experts concluded at Triple-I’s Joint Industry Forum (JIF) last week.

The panel examined whether insurers’ growing comfort with remote work will lead to a more diverse workforce and if technological advances would give insurance industry employees more time to create value rather than allocating too much time toward administrative assignments.

“This industry offers so much to so many,” said Connecticut Insurance Commissioner Andrew Mais. “The pandemic accelerated the need for new talent. By casting a wider net, we can find new entrants who want to do meaningful work and make a difference. Attracting data scientists and new skill sets to the industry broadens our reach to new talent.”

“The pandemic accelerated our level of engagement with employees” said Deepa Soni, chief information officer for The Hartford. “We are championing mental health, supporting women in tech, caring for the whole person. The acquisition of new talent brings transformation to the insurance industry through flexibility, culture and purpose-driven work.”

Soni added that more flexible working arrangements have increased employee retention at The Hartford.

Victor Terry, State Farm’s chief diversity officer, said, “Start with the individual. What do they need to be their best and thrive? Redefine what the culture is and what does ‘good’ look like.”

“Vulnerability is a key trait for good leaders,” said panel moderator Lisa Butera, managing director and head of property/casualty client markets – U.S. for Swiss Re. “Leadership with empathy and authenticity is key.”

Butera said the industry is shifting to new technology to better serve customers and make work more efficient and “less clunky” for employees.

“Training existing employees and attracting new employees with tech skills will help to fill the current talent gaps,” Butera added.

The Hartford’s Soni noted her company offers a tech boot camp for claims professionals and underwriters, and State Farm’s Terry added, “New tech allows innovation and creativity – more time for passion projects.”

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