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1 July 2024 Insurance

What’s in store for talent in insurance

We need people with different ways of thinking in this industry, says Kevin Hopton, head of UK talent management and performance at Sedgwick.

For our focus on talent, Intelligent Insurer arranged a virtual panel, sponsored by Markel, to discuss the ins and outs of talent within insurance.

Louisa Blain, partner, head of insurance for Human Capital at Aon; Natacha Craven, chief people and communications officer at Miller Insurance; and Sue Davies, chief human resources officer at Markel, joined Hopton and Jane Warren, UK branch manager and executive sponsor for diversity, equality and inclusion at Liberty, for a lively debate. 

This fourth report delves into the future of talent acquisition and retention for the insurance market. Blain started by talking about the necessity for a broader range of skills in the industry. 

“There’s so much shifting in our market, so we need to embrace different types of skills and people who haven’t been in the market before,” she noted, stressing the importance of both technical and behavioural skills.

“We need to make sure we are an attractive place to be.” Louisa Blain, Aon

Blain believes this diverse skillset is vital for fostering collaboration across teams and building inclusive cultures that attract and retain talent.

“We need to make sure we are an attractive place to be,” she added.

Warren agreed, emphasising the wider competition for talent. “We compete in a global industry now for talent, so we have to create an environment that will help progress the careers of younger people coming in.”

She spoke of initiatives such as the Liberty Challenge Cup which foster relationship-building among young professionals, as essential for maintaining the industry’s dynamism.

“We must create an environment that supports young professionals.” Jane Warren, Liberty

 Defining a clear offering

A compelling value proposition is essential for attracting new talent to the insurance industry, according to Davies, who described the industry as “a people-first, people-powered industry that’s complemented with high-tech innovation”.

She is confident that highlighting the industry’s core values and the exciting opportunities it offers can change perceptions and attract a diverse pool of talent. 

“We want to ensure that people don’t see insurance as that boring, old industry,” she asserted.

Blain sees flexible working as a key component of this value proposition. “Hybrid arrangements will be a big part of all of that. Thinking globally about that sphere will be crucial,” she said.

The panel agreed that the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) is set to revolutionise how the industry operates, enhancing efficiency and opening up new possibilities, and the discussion turned to digital technology.

Creating a new culture

A collaborative and inclusive culture is vital for the future success of the insurance industry and Hopton highlighted the importance of neurodiversity, saying: “We need people with different ways of thinking in this industry.”

Craven was pleased with the ongoing conversations about culture within the industry. “We are the cultural carriers; we are responsible for making a real difference,” she said.

“By fostering inclusive cultures and promoting open dialogue, the industry can continue to evolve and attract top talent,” she added.

“The industry can continue to evolve and attract top talent.” Natacha Craven, Miller Insurance

Davies emphasised the significance of trusted relationships and collaboration, noting: “The importance of collaboration and connectivity cannot be overstated.” 

She remains hopeful about the industry’s future, believing that these core values will continue to attract and retain talent.

The insurance industry stands at a crossroads, with the need for diverse skills, a compelling value proposition, and a collaborative culture more important than ever. 

Blain advocated embracing a wide range of skills and fostering inclusive cultures to attract talent. 

“We need to clearly signpost the purpose of what we do and how people can fit in,” she asserted.

Davies stressed the importance of a strong value proposition, highlighting the “excitement and vibrancy” within the industry.

“We need to change the perception of insurance,” she said.

Hopton and Craven both highlighted the value of diversity and collaboration, essential for driving innovation and maintaining the industry’s relevance.

Warren concluded: “We have to be on the front foot, and recognise that we must create an environment that supports young professionals.”

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