How sustainability and workforce transformation inspire innovation

The recent 2022 Qorus-Accenture Insurance Innovation Awards are a powerful and actionable example of the trends shaping the insurance industry. Sustainability and workforce transformation has become pivotal for insurance companies to maintain their relevance in a changing market. Insurers need to embed sustainability into their strategy and value proposition, and they need to embrace workforce transformation in light of factors such as a tight labor market, skills shortages, increasing human-machine interactions, and blended work arrangements. Both have also become major considerations for people when choosing which insurance company to choose and/or where to forge a career.

Social, sustainable and responsible

Accenture’s 2021 Global Insurance Consumer Study He explained that sustainability in all its forms is becoming increasingly important to consumers, with 67 percent of millennials and young adults saying sustainable products and services are attractive. This interest is supposed to have a dual benefit for insurers, who can build a sustainable risk management model, while at the same time proving to younger consumers that sustainability is a shared value.

In the previous Series on sustainability, I discussed how we are now engaging in a broader definition of sustainability within insurance. Sustainability is not just about protecting the planet, but about protecting our future through positive social and economic practices, and caring for disadvantaged and vulnerable communities.

Integrated and proactive sustainability would not be possible without the application of appropriate technology. as our latest research Unification of technology and sustainability He argues, technology is a key enabler for the development of a holistically sustainable business, and for that sustainability strategies and technology must become tightly aligned. In fact, at Accenture’s From Perception to Reality: Bridging the Gaps in Stakeholder Consensus for Shaping Sustainable Organizations We show that 43% of executives cite access to the right technology at the right cost as a major barrier to developing sustainability goals.

At this year’s awards, we saw how insurance companies They overcome these challenges by connecting sustainability to their purpose and vision and using technologies such as artificial intelligence to track their ESG requirements or build innovative products that add value to customers, as well as to the wider community and environment.

Category Winner – PZU (Poland)

That was certainly the case with this year’s winner of the Social, Sustainable & Responsible 2022 competition. PZU It won in the AI ​​Skin Cancer Prevention Tool category, which enables customers to quickly and easily access skin cancer pre-screening through an AI-enabled mobile app.

Marcin Korczap – The head of the innovation laboratory at PZU explains how the tool came to be: “When implementing the project, we identified the challenge of low awareness of skin cancer risks among employees of our corporate clients. For this reason, we offered them a simple and quick solution that automatically reminds them to take regular self-examinations.

More than 3,000 people signed up for the app in the first months of the pilot programme, with five cases of skin cancer identified by the app and confirmed by dermatological evaluation so far. PZU has received positive feedback from users, who have shared that the tool has made skin cancer prevention easier and more accessible.

Korczap adds: “Two people told us about their medical consultations, which impressed doctors with the app’s effectiveness, proving its reliability. This is our mission as an insurance company – we have the unique ability to protect people and support them to live better and longer. PZU clients only take a minute to check their status their skin at home, and if there is a concern, to escalate it by seeing a doctor. Diagnosis at such an early stage increases the chance of a successful recovery.”

PZU experienced an increase in customer sentiment as a result of the tool, noticing a statistically significant difference in rating PZU innovation (+13 points compared to the control group) and perception of the company as modern (+10 points compared to the control group) in its annual marketing survey.

“Healthcare services are known to be overburdened, and patients often have to wait for a long time to get a doctor’s appointment and treatment. New technologies such as artificial intelligence have huge potential to revolutionize healthcare by addressing key pain points. Intelligence-based tools can AI can address a wide range of challenges by validating symptoms, improving healthcare processes, performing triage and also predicting the risk of developing a specific disease (such as cancers) or enabling early detection of such diseases resulting in lower death rates.Modern AI tools can act as a support to doctors during an examination (there are already apps with a medical certificate that doctors prescribe just like drugs or other forms of rehabilitation) or allow self-examination options as part of prevention – just like our project.The AI ​​doesn’t get tired, it’s better at avoiding biases, it can see what it doesn’t notice always human. These features may make AI an inseparable component of medical diagnosis in the future.”

Workforce shift

Talent is the lifeblood of the insurance industry. Only with the right resources and knowledge will insurance companies be able to transform and achieve their vision.

However, the lack of talent and skills is a growing concern in the insurance industry. Skills gaps resulting from the introduction of new technologies and the increasing digitization of processes, along with an aging workforce and massive retirements on the horizon, are of particular concern. For example, talent management (succession, planning, hiring, retention, and training) has been highlighted as a growing issue by insurers in Underwriting at The Institutes-Accenture for 2021 reconnaissance.

A major emerging challenge and opportunity for insurance companies is the rise of the remote workforce. On the other hand, the remote workforce opens up new opportunities for efficiencies. in Accenture’s 2021 technology vision for insurance 88% of insurance executives share the belief that a remote workforce opens up the market for hard-to-find talent and expands competition for talent between organizations. On the other hand, optimizing resources that ensure a healthy and productive workforce, regardless of physical location, can be challenging. Remote working also makes a cohesive and collaborative workplace culture more difficult.

Category winner – Zurich Insurance Company

Zurich It addressed the particular challenges presented by a hybrid workforce, with a comprehensive mobile app for Zurich employees that simplifies the day-to-day experience whether they are at home or in the office.

Oscar Escudero SanchezHead of Digital Delivery, Zurich Insurance discusses how the team approached the creation of the app, “Zurich has around 56,000 employees globally and they deserve the best and easiest tools to help navigate their working lives. We initially launched the app in several business units in Zurich with a focus We’ve come a long way since then and we’re going global this year. With One Zurich, we’re turning our old model of job-based digital experiences on its head. Where we previously had different platforms, let’s say, for HR or IT support, We now have everything in one place.”

Liz OswaldAdds, Head of Technology Transformation, Zurich Insurance Company, “One Zurich aims to provide our employees with a comprehensive digital experience. We regularly engage our employees through multiple channels such as focus groups, interviews, surveys, and in-app feedback forms to understand their wants, needs, and preferences, and use this input to define and prioritize the app’s feature backlog and user experience streams. Once these are in production, we note their use and follow up with employees to understand what works well for them or what they would like to see improved – and then we take those changes and improvements into our backlog.

This approach corresponds to a mixed modus operandi. Escudero Sanchez explains, “Zurich has embraced the new post-pandemic way of working, including offering flexible and expanded working options to remote employees. This model creates many opportunities for both the company and the employees on how to stay connected in the world of mixed work. At the level Tactical, the One Zurich app supports employees in managing their days on site with easy-to-use visual tools that let them know when colleagues plan to come into the office, book nearby workplaces and manage their reservations.More broadly, One Zurich acts as a conduit to engage employees with relevant updates and actions when They are very important and to help them feel connected no matter what workplace model they choose.”

Workforce transformation does not happen in a vacuum, but as part of a deeper strategic commitment. Oswald concludes: “Our ambition in Zurich is to be one of the most responsible and influential companies in the world. We know that a key element to achieving this is providing our customers, agents and brokers with modern, streamlined and intuitive tools and user flows that engage and delight them, tailored to their individual needs. But it is not enough to focus. “Our people make Zurich. With One Zurich, we set an example for our employees by transforming their own experience and sharing our findings to inform our organisation’s broader digitalization journey.”

As these two winners show, an overall commitment to sustainability and workforce transformation from within can have a powerful and far-reaching impact.

full view 2022 Qorus Accenture Insurance Innovation List.

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Disclaimer: This content is provided for general information purposes and is not intended to be used in place of consultation with our professional advisors.