Over the past decade, increased claims volume from a growing customer base has heightened demand for insurance claims professionals.
In addition, a combination of increasingly complex insurance products and waves of retirement among the baby boomer generation has intensified competition for senior and experienced claims assessors. Factors initiated or accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic have only exacerbated this talent shortage.
What is causing the talent drain?
Insurance products are getting more complex, making the claims adjudication process increasingly complicated. In addition, investment in technology in the insurance industry has been slow until recent years, with the claims function often considered a lower priority compared to other areas. This creates a vicious cycle in which the claims adjudication process remains manual, and claims assessors spend long hours performing repetitive administrative tasks instead of applying their expertise to claims risk management work. The nature of the job has played a major impact in attracting and retaining talent.
The Great Resignation, a phenomenon that began in 2021, has seen a wave of professionals across industries leaving their jobs to seek better work-life balance. The pandemic disruption and related stresses prompted many to rethink their careers, work conditions and long-term goals. In fact, research carried out by Allianz Australia shows that the disruption from the pandemic is far from over and around two million workers are very likely to consider leaving their organization in the next 6 – 12 months.1
The insurance industry was not spared from the impacts of the Great Resignation, which included the loss of experienced claims professionals. This left some insurers without sufficient resources to perform claims management activities at the level customers have come to expect.
What can the insurance industry / employers do?
Engaged and motivated employees stay with companies longer. Insurers can take steps to help create such an environment in order to attract and retain claims professionals.
1. Develop a structured onboarding and development program.
A direct correlation exists between training and retention of staff. Generally, companies with well-developed onboarding and development programs are better able to retain staff, thus increasing productivity and incurring less cost for talent replacement. The job of a claims assessor requires a unique skillset, including an inquisitive and creative mindset with knowledge of medical and legal aspects. It can thus be quite daunting for any new joiners without a structured onboarding program.
Investment in career development and ongoing training to equip assessors with technical and other soft skills also has proven to boost retention. To that end, RGA provides online claims training programs via the Global Claims Manual/Guide, such as Pathfinder, which are suitable for onboarding new claim assessors and increasing the skills and knowledge of experienced professionals. Contact us to learn more.
2. Invest in claims technology.
With limited IT resources, most companies adopt a priority review exercise to ensure that those resources are best utilized. Unfortunately, the claims function is often not identified as a high priority compared to other areas in achieving business targets.
However, with new and stricter regulations on data privacy in many markets, any missteps in manual claims processes could potentially lead to reputational risks and even financial penalties. The need for investing in claims technology should be reviewed not only from a business point of view but also considering the regulatory landscape. Investment to automate repetitive steps in the claims adjudication process should also increase job satisfaction and help attract and retain staff, including the millennial generation.
3. Develop a two-track career path.
Implementing a two-track career path, one for technical and one for management, can help increase employee engagement. Most companies focus on management-related roles for promotion and risk losing the loyalty of the technically advanced claims assessors who may not have any interest in a management role. It is important to keep these skilled claims assessors motivated by providing opportunities in specialist roles, with competitive remuneration and benefits commensurate with their experience, tenure, and the value they add to the business. For claims assessors better suited for future management roles, setting in place mentorship and career guidance programs will help equip them with the necessary skills as they transition into different positions. Checking in with them at various points to confirm their interest in relevant management roles is also important.
The industry is facing a shortage of claims professionals, especially senior assessors, and it is getting increasingly challenging to attract and retain new talent. With claims volume and complexity increasing, it is vital to start exploring solutions today to attract and retain talent.