“The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race … it would take off on its own, and re-design itself at an ever-increasing rate. Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn’t compete, and would be superseded.” Professor Stephen Hawking in an interview with the BBC…
… While his prediction echos the likes of a far-flung terminator-esque doomsday scenario, it nonetheless, rings true with some form of a not so far-fetched reality.
The technological wave washing over our daily lives, as well as working its way into our workspaces, is bringing forth small but incremental changes. Already, legacy systems are being replaced with state-of-the-art upgrades, employment practices updated, and business operations improved. Firms are seemingly rethinking corporate hierarchies and considering the hire of promising digitally-savvy individuals, while, at the same time, robotic process automation (RPA) is quickening tedious back-office processes and reducing personnel costs.
RPA is automating back-office duties which often follow a strict process and are typically seen as boring and monotonous tasks. While it is still in its infancy and its ability to act on its own accord is not yet fully established, it is reported that reductions on time spent on tasks could be up to 90% (1). Evidently, as technology progresses, fears over job losses are high. However, this is not entirely the case. A growing trend among insurers is one of optimism. RPA will free-up employees from more tedious tasks in order to allow for more time on value-added and skilled activities leading to fewer layoffs and greater employee retention.
Digital acumen is increasingly important. Within the hype, so to speak, lies an often over-shadowed repercussion. Those with the know-how to apply new technology is enabling workspaces to become ‘better’. For example, weekly or monthly status updates are no longer sufficient, instead, clients expect daily updates, and rightly so. This is an ever-greater effect that we are noticing across all sectors, including our own, prompting the redesign of our own methodology and moving towards a far more intuitive and contemporary presentation platform.
Despite growing optimism, there will eventually be job losses to machines. In a widely sourced study, Oxford University researchers predicted that insurance underwriters will be one of 12 professions from a total of 702 with a 99% of being automated in the future (2). Although, the Lloyd’s of London market sits amongst its own micro-climate leaving it free from imminent danger.
On the flip-side, however, there will also be job creation as firms look to employ senior executives with the necessary technological expertise. An increasing urgency for insurers to bolster their decision-making capabilities, particularly with regards to talent, is making digitally-savvy executives increasingly sought after.
Insurers face tough market conditions amidst a soft market and increasing regulatory burdens. The rising front and back-end costs incurred are leading firms to take caution against unnecessary expenses. Recruitment proves a key strategic tool during times of difficulty. Chief Human Resource Officers face an increasingly difficult challenge to identify areas for growth and acquire personnel with the relevant technical expertise to take hold of the coming change.
In an increasingly digital age, it is about employing technically astute employees as opposed to swapping man for machine. Finding the right personnel for your technological strategy is crucial to benefit from the imminent digital disruption.
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1 Allianz, Robotics Process Automation and Artificial Intelligence, 2017
2 Oxford University, The Future of Employment: How Susceptible Are Jobs to Computerisation, Sept 17th, 2013