Insurers, should you lay off to resist?

Written by Fabrice Rémy, on 10 April 2019

Insurers are facing a major turning point in their existence, or rather in their growth.

First and foremost, they must confront increasingly stringent and constantly renewed regulatory pressure, which is matched only by the intensity of competitive pressure. This pressure is exacerbated by the looming, though not yet revealed, threat of a new entrant in the market (GAFA? BATX? or a young startup?) capable of revolutionizing everything with the snap of a finger, capturing the majority of market share in just a few months. Myth or reality? I'll let you be the judge.

Regardless, this has had two notable consequences.

Firstly, the consolidation movement among different players has resumed, creating even larger, heavier structures, and therefore even less agile ones, thus creating an urgent need to improve performance. By performance, we mean optimizing the "management expenses / quality" ratio, which will likely involve automating processes (RPA), inevitably leading to a release of human resources capacity. To be clearer... too many employees for whom there may not necessarily be a clear role.

The second effect has been the realization of the importance of enhancing the customer experience. For a sector accustomed to a certain level of protectionism and subdued competition, this represents a true cultural revolution, requiring a thorough rethinking of its economic model.

Two seemingly distant challenges. And yet... let's study them together, coordinated and simultaneous...

Is it absurd to think that individuals who have worked within a company for some time, understand its operation and culture, and have dealt with customer issues, questions, requests, or complaints, are relevant for considering how to optimize these same customers' experience.

Is it inconsistent to imagine building together the new company model, inventing new services, or adapting processes to real customer needs instead of imposing them dogmatically and unilaterally?

Collective intelligence within a company becomes meaningful when horizontal (multi-disciplinary) and vertical (multi-level) diversity is respected. Take advantage of it!

But let's go further...

Who will implement and manage these new services, this new experience?

I can already see the most skeptical among you rolling their eyes... "how can people who have been accustomed to primarily performing repetitive tasks (the most direct victims of RPA projects) now be capable of performing another job?"

I have an answer for you: SOFT SKILLS, and even now MAD SKILLS!!!

At a time when HR TECH companies are flourishing and succeeding around the concept of matching people to a job not just based on simple skills (the "know-how") but especially on the basis of "knowing-how-to-be," it is time to implement different HR policies.

What if you looked at and considered your employee not through the prism of their age, their previous work, or assessment grids mechanically filled out for years, but rather through who they are, their desires, their passions, their uniqueness, and especially what would make them wake up every morning with a smile?

You might be surprised by the result.

The "senior" who was somewhat unsure what to do next transforms into a coach rich in experience that they could pass on.

The "historical manager" turns out to be an advisor responsible for welcoming your customers to your branch.

And so many ideas and stories to build in a future where over 85% of the jobs in 2030 are not even known today (DELL Technologies and Palo Alto Institute for the Future study - 2017)

You might also be pleasantly surprised to discover that the position that has been open for months in a certain branch, subsidiary, department, or division, and for which you have difficulty finding the ideal person, well that person may already be with you, with some training or simple guidance. You may find that your internal mobility issue takes on a different character if you transcend the traditional logic of career progression from a bygone era.

In conclusion, the HR challenge induced by a process optimization policy may not actually be a problem. Wouldn't it rather be an opportunity to rethink and re-enchant your employee experience while improving your customer experience?

It's all a matter of perspective and point of view.