Although industry experts anticipate the 4th Industrial Revolution will bring wide-ranging new opportunities for insurers, most insurance Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) remain concerned over regulation, cyber threats and speed of technological change, according to PwC’s 21st Global CEO survey.
The PwC report highlighted that although attracting the right talent will be key to re/insurers’ ability to capitalise on new opportunities, more than 80% of participants are concerned about attracting and retaining key digital skills.
According to the survey, while all sectors are concerned over attracting digitally-skilled talent, insurance CEOs are the most concerned, and this is compounded by changes in consumer behaviour that are seen as a possible threat to growth.
Jim Bichard, UK Insurance Leader at PwC, said: “Insurance has typically been a sector slow to innovate, but there is no time to lose – getting up to speed demands a clear strategy. CEOs know that if they are not transforming and harnessing the positive power of technology, they risk being left behind.
“In order to succeed in such a competitive market, insurance leaders need to ensure their companies are fit for growth by really homing in on the lines of business that will bring revenue growth in the future.
“This industry was built on understanding risk, and technologies such as predictive analytics and AI offer a platform for insurers to strengthen their products whilst helping solve important societal problems.
As more businesses move to digital channels, the report cites expectations of growing opportunities in cyber insurance, or for insurers to become the enabler of services such as mobility or internet of things-enabled smart homes.
Bichard explained that all industries “will be looking to the insurance industry for help in guarding against new risks and fuelling their own growth.
“This is a huge opportunity for insurers to provide innovative new products and help protect society from the new risks associated with flexible workforces, connected homes and cyber threats. The UK insurance market has always shown itself to be resilient and agile in the past.”
However, capitalising on these opportunities isn’t without its challenges and the report warns insurers not to underestimate the need for longer-term transformational change into digitally-enabled, customer-focused organisations.
While most insurance leaders are optimistic over new prospects stemming from the growing digitisation of the global economy, they are highly concerned about shortages of digital skills, as such, Bichard advised insurance CEOs “to encourage a ‘bionic’ organisation, with humans and machines working together to improve outcomes.”
He added, “by communicating the role insurance plays in society, the industry should hope to appeal to a wider group of potential employees.”