— Written by Amit Malik
The world is facing an unprecedented crisis in the form of a pandemic. It has affected the world at an economic, social, and policy level. Going by estimates of CMIE (Center for Monitoring Indian Economy), the unemployment rate in India currently stands at a staggering 24 per cent in May 2020. Since the outbreak of the virus, many companies had frozen hiring or slowed down the process, some employees also faced salary cuts and in many cases, loss of employment.
Many organisations had limited hiring only for critical positions. In the short term, just like many other industries, insurance has definitely taken a hit albeit with the potential to bounce back faster than many other sectors. Frontline sales and customer-facing roles will be the first to be prioritised.
The current pandemic has hastened the shift towards all things digital. Going forward, new-age solutions such as cloud telephony, AI-powered chatbots and interactive voice response, etc, will provide customers with contact-less service and seamless experience. As a consequence, skill sets required are also slated to change and will be dictated majorly by the change in business priorities and customer ask. There is a need to build new capabilities to strengthen readiness for the future. Following are some job trends that will be witnessed in the insurance industry:
Typically, the insurance advisor is part of our social network or referenced. A contact-less sales process will be a reality, there will be a need for workforce to build relationships by being part of customers’ virtual social networks instead of the physical one. This will lead to new ways of prospecting, need analysis, and closing of a sale.
From policy issuance to payments, the entire customer journey needs to be re-imagined into a digital process. For many such processes, where the move to digital had already begun, the adoption will need to speed up. Consequently, the capabilities of employees working at each step will also need to evolve.
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Self-service portals for policyholders are proving to be a game-changer by providing a fast and easy way to connect and interact. Every industry is likely to move a larger workload of the enterprise applications to cloud as the concept of physical office space dilutes and remote working starts becoming a norm. Cloud will simplify the monitoring of resource consumption, and every service delivery will capitalise on this opportunity.
Companies will focus on enabling employees to work remotely. They will look beyond providing laptops and we will see a surge in usage of solutions like ‘thin client’, which is very nascent and VDI.
The massive shift to digital interactions and transactions will also come with its own challenges in terms of cyber-risk. This applies to the company’s internal data as well as that of customers. Cybersecurity will be the centre of the new era as every industry will adopt digital transformation. The development of safe and secure payment gateways, and security walls will drive this market growth. It will involve the use of blockchain, application program interface (API), and other advancements. Hence, the industry requires greater adherence to security protocols and stringent use of cybersecurity technologies. Well-trained cybersecurity professionals will, therefore, find increased demand in the job market.
Once hiring comes back to earlier norm, HR leaders will also emphasise on attracting people who have a natural bent for technology. Upskilling therefore will not be a choice anymore. One thing that will not change is that a person who is ahead on the employability curve and has skills needed for the future will always be in demand.
— The author is Chief People, Operations & Customer Services Officer, Aviva Life Insurance.
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