Setting mutual and mid-market insurance coverage carriers up for fulfillment
Mutual and midsize insurance carriers face a sea of challenges (and opportunities) as the industry seeks growth and innovation from the COVID-19 crisis.
A big problem that mutual insurance companies and midsize businesses take very seriously is the need for talent. Due to the aging population and increased competition from other financial services and technology companies, the insurance industry as a whole is confronted with a shortage of skilled workers. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic and the sharp shift in employee preferences towards remote and technology-centric work environments only exacerbated these issues.
“The war for talents is affecting all areas of the insurance industry, but mutual and mid-sized companies are certainly feeling it more clearly,” said Caryn Siebert (pictured right), VP Sales, Carrier Practice, Gallagher Bassett. “The pandemic has resulted in a real shift in work habits and preferences, and while some of those changes – a shift to value-based or purposeful work – lend themselves well to the natural bias of mutual and medium-sized businesses, much of the demand for remote or flexible work makes it difficult for this segment to attract talent. “
What Gallagher Bassett has heard from many of his joint and medium-sized carrier partners is that their capital constraints and limited geographic access to talent make it increasingly difficult to find and retain qualified claims professionals, said Amy Cooper (pictured left), VP Sales, carrier practice, Gallagher Bassett. But there is no reason for mutuals and medium-sized companies to be alarmed, she said.
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“Mutuals often have the natural advantage of being more focused on values, community and purpose,” Cooper told Insurance Business. “This can be very attractive to talent, especially the new generation joining the workforce looking for a company that takes their position in society into account and plays a role that supports their own individual values. The connection to members and policyholders can take the “cog in the wheel” for some employees in large companies.
“This is a great opportunity for mutuals to capitalize on their natural structure that prioritizes people and community, to take the time to listen and get feedback from current employees. This feedback needs to be taken into account when mutuals advance their organization, be it through competition packages, cultural and engagement initiatives, or diversity programs. “
Siebert added that there are many factors that can make mutuals and medium-sized companies a preferred employer – if used properly. For example, you can use partnerships with External Administrators (TPAs) like Gallagher Bassett to develop growth and innovation opportunities that are attractive to top talent. Leveraging the expertise and experience of a TPA, mutuals and midsize companies can strategically grow into new businesses or geographic markets without building critical skills from the ground up.
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“Mutuals are under increasing pressure to grow to ensure they stand out in the marketplace and remain competitive with their members. Partnering with a TPA like Gallagher Bassett can therefore help them overcome recruiting challenges immediately and open up new markets, ”said Siebert. “The capital outlay required to keep up with the technology can be limiting for many types of businesses, but having a TPA with a strong RMIS platform and award-winning claims innovation gives them access to the predictive analysis that they need for growth and diversification. faster and without capital pressure. “
A TPA can also help joint and medium-sized carriers implement technological innovations – an absolute must in the industry today, not only from an operational point of view, but also in terms of creating exciting organizations that attract and retain top talent.
“The mutuals are certainly on the way to technological innovation, but there are many obstacles on their way,” said Siebert. “The challenges of capital constraints, lack of in-house technical know-how, and the simple fact that there aren’t enough hours in the day often deter mutuals, mutuals, and midsize carriers from implementing the technology (especially since it isn’t a Core service offering). need to grow and compete efficiently. “
When the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, some mutual and medium-sized insurance companies did not have the technological infrastructure to support remote working, and they were not prepared for the flexible work futures that employees are demanding today. Overcoming such technological blockages is not an impossible task, Cooper noted, but it is a difficult path to walk alone.
“When we work with joint freight forwarders, they get access to a wide range of agile and innovative tools. They often see immediate improvements in their program management with instant feedback on the file and solutions manager’s performance, backed by the insights of our claims experts who have made their careers in helping carriers grow, ”said Cooper. “It also gives them the opportunity to compare their results with a broader data set that Gallagher Bassett has created since we were founded over 50 years ago.”