With the explosion of big data and connected devices, insurers have begun looking to specialists to supply their technology. This is changing the traditional profile of an insurance business and, according to a study, many insurers are growing their IT teams in the hope of capitalising on insurtech and avoiding being overtaken by startups.
The study, by Oliver James Associates and Vacancy Soft, highlights a rise in demand for user interface and user experience development staff so that insurers can digitise more areas of their businesses and build a stronger technology base.
IT recruitment rises 35.5 per cent
The report also reveals a 16.7 per cent rise in vacancies for insurance roles in Greater London in the 12-month period to 31 January 2017 compared to the previous 12 months. It also notes that IT professionals are in higher demand than those in marketing, accounting and actuarial science, and second only to insurance-specific professionals such as underwriters and claims specialists.
IT recruitment has increased by 35.5 per cent since January 2016, underlining the growing focus on technology strategies and roles. Another sign of the times is the focus on app development, as insurers work to catch up in a growth area where insurtech challengers are becoming increasingly inventive.
Hire, buy, or partner?
Innovation may be essential for business growth, but so is speed to market. This begs the familiar question: should you develop technology in-house with your own staff, buy it, or partner with a technology provider that knows your business and has all the resources to develop a bespoke solution?
There are arguments in favour of each option, and every industry and business will have different needs. Building in-house requires an investment in time and people, and for some companies it might be a sensible approach.
A buy decision may be appropriate if you are sure that the technology is a good fit with your business and your long-term strategy, but could be a costly mistake if the product is inflexible and fails to support the business in the way intended.
The power of partnership
Technology partnerships are often the best, fastest, most economical way to create value for insurers – particularly where the partner is not only a technology specialist, but also an insurance expert like RDT. With RDT as a partner, clients achieve sustained innovation and technology support but without adding layers of new staff or risking the inflexibility of a buy-only solution.
Agile development creates the fluidity for true innovation and speed to market, allowing insurers to keep up with the relentless pace of change. Whether for app development, data enrichment, or exploiting the potential of the internet of things, it pays to partner with a technology provider who understands your business and can beat insurtech startups at their own game. So when insurers consider their options, recruitment may be less a cost-effective and productive strategy than partnership.