Finding workers has been a challenge for many businesses recently. However, finding skilled workers who are interested in an insurance career has been especially challenging. As more insurance industry workers retire, the situation may become worse. The good news is smart claims technology has the potential to reduce staffing challenges.
Labor Shortages Since the Pandemic
As businesses reopened after pandemic closures, many struggled to find and retain workers. The Great Resignation saw many workers quit in search of better jobs. Others were forced out of the workforce due to caregiving responsibilities or decided to go into business for themselves. According to SHRM, data from the U.S. Labor Department shows that the number of unincorporated self-employed workers has increased by more than 500,000 since the beginning of the pandemic.
Regardless of the reasons these workers left their jobs, the fact remains that they left – and this has put short-staffed employers in a difficult position.
The Impact on the Insurance Industry
There has been a lot of attention on the high turnover in the retail and hospitality industries, but turnover has also impacted the insurance industry.
In an interview with WGLT, an analyst reported that insurance carrier total employment is at about 1.56 million, which is down 85,000 from two years ago. Insurance companies are trying to hire people, but they can’t keep up with the rate at which workers are leaving.
Insurance can be a rewarding field: the work can be interesting and financially lucrative and individuals don’t always need an expensive four-year degree. Despite these positives, many young people don’t seem interested in the insurance industry, as this Forbes article explains. This means that finding younger workers to replace those who leave the labor force for retirement is an uphill battle.
Burned-Out Workers Are More Likely to Quit
Imagine a company is short staffed. It needs to complete the same amount of work, but there are fewer workers to do everything, meaning each worker must take on a heavier load. This leads to frustration, resentment, and burnout. Eventually, more workers might decide to quit because they are overworked. This leaves the remaining workers with even more work, resulting in a vicious cycle. As CNBC explains, this can result in even higher turnover rates.
Burnout is a real problem – and staffing shortages can make the situation worse. This means pushing loyal workers to their breaking point could backfire.
Turnover is also expensive. Even if a company can find a new worker to replace one who left, the process of recruiting, hiring, onboarding, and training incurs significant costs.
Smart Claims Technology Can Help
Insurance companies are understaffed, but smart technology can help in three critical ways:
- Firstly, smart technology can help companies manage with fewer workers. Technology won’t replace the need for human workers – insurance is a complicated sector and, although it is possible to automate certain tasks, some tasks require a human touch. However, when automation manages some of the tedious and time-consuming grunt work, you can reduce total workloads.
- Secondly, innovative claims technology can allow workers to focus on more important matters. Tedious and time-consuming tasks can be stressful, especially when employees don’t have enough hours in the day. Technology can free up workers to spend more time on tasks that need their attention. This can result in less burnout for workers and better outcomes for insurance customers.
- Thirdly, automated processes may help attract a new generation of workers. The Forbes article above about how young people don’t want to work in insurance pointed to a Hartford study in which many Millennials said insurance was too boring. Young people might not be excited about insurance, but they may be interested if positions are tech forward and if companies have eliminated the most boring tasks.
Smart Tech in the Claims Process
An article in Insurance News Net shows how AI tools can support insurance industry contact center workers to reduce stress and increase the chance of a positive outcome.
However, it’s not just contact centers that can benefit. The claims process is also a prime candidate for smart technology. New software can automate tedious tasks and routine communications, boosting claimant satisfaction while resulting in major time savings for the claims professionals.
Better claims software isn’t some dream for the future: it’s here now. Want to see how much better your claims process could be? Request a demo.