Monday, May 5, 2008

Solution to Claims “Brain Drain”? Likely NOT in New Tech Tools…

Don’t look now, but even insurance claim execs say they are worried about an imminent “brain drain” in the claims area. A recent Towers Perrin survey of P&C claim officers reveal that 82% feel that attracting and retaining top talent is the Number 1 priority for success in the claims industry (“Recruitment a Priority for Claims Officers: Survey,” Business Insurance, 3/24/08).

What to do? Interestingly, Towers Perrin concludes its study by urging insurers to deliver better outcomes via new technology. It does not exactly specify the nature of this “new technology” or how it can stem the incipient brain drain among seasoned claim professionals. Towers Perrin mentions better analytics as an example of the technology solution.Maybe I’m the only one curious and skeptical here. Towers Perrin cites high-level concerns over an exodus of claim expertise. Its solution is …. New technology.

Methinks this may have something to do with the fact that it’s easier for a consultant to sell “new technology” than to sell the ideas of: treat your claims people better, pay them more, enrich their jobs and institute better mentoring programs for younger adjusters with attractive career paths. The latter are squishier and take time to implement. They may not involve any whiz-bang technology.

A “brain drain” in the claims area is likely due to the graying of the workforce, job burnout, a sense of compromised career options and inadequate investment in mentoring, training and succession. The root cause of the claims brain drain does not (primarily) lie in technological factors. Even though selling tech solutions may yield higher margins for consultants, I don’t think technology – at least by itself -- will solve the brain drain phenomenon in claims.

Your thoughts?

1 comment:

David Pilcher said...

New technology is the problem...not the answer. Individuality and critical thinking, along with dignity, were the first to leave when all of the claims people were rounded up, stripped of their field duties, company cars and discretionary settlement authority, and forced into cubicles to stare at computer screens with "improved' analytics. That's not a career, it's a sentence. I, for one, ran screaming for the door.

David E. Pilcher, CPCU, ARM, AIC, AAI
Risk Management, Insurance and Claims Consulting Services, Expert Witness Testimony