The more industries are being taken over by workplace automation the more fear is generated in people, contributing to the negative attention that automation is receiving at the moment in America.
Although the reality is that automation is actually redefining jobs, not just eliminating them and transforming industries, there is a lot of talk in the media about repercussions for workers.
This is true when it comes to chatbots emerging into the insurance industry. But let’s back up.
Let’s start with a traditional example taught in Operations Management during business school is the airport kiosk.
In this example, automation provided an opportunity to refocus the skills of airline employees on more important processes rather than eliminating jobs, while machines were used to do repetitive, tedious tasks.
The results were reduced waiting times for passengers checking in for flights, improved job opportunities for employees, and the ability for airlines to process more transactions.
Insurance chatbots, another form of automation technology, is also disrupting industry in a major way. AI assistants are capable of collecting and processing consumer data and providing insurance quotes without personal contact. They are also able to provide 24/7 claims assistance to policyholders.
It is obvious that workforce automation is a disruption in many industries, especially in the insurance industry where billions of dollars are being invested in technologies such as chatbots.
Although these changes are feared by many insurance agents, it is clear that workforce automation can create opportunities for workers to provide the flexible skills that machines don’t have.
The time for insurance agents to own their own independent agencies that provide low-cost access to automation technologies has never been better.
The facts are that jobs with big insurance companies are not that secure anyway as there is a huge trend towards hiring contractors from all around the world instead of employing local full-time employees.
According to Deloitte, 51% of international executives say that their organizations are planning to increase their use of independent and flexible workers during the next 3 to 5 years.
According Susan Lund published by McKinsey&Company,
“With today’s technology, roughly half of the tasks that people do can be automated. That’s a staggering figure. But just as interesting, and maybe even more important, is that only 5 percent of jobs can be entirely automated.”
The key factors from all this for most industries points to a future workplace that will consist of high-performance workers with valuable skill sets working alongside automation technologies.
Unfortunately, lower performing workers will miss out on these job opportunities and will have to fill positions that cannot be completely taken over by automation.
This future economy will be known as the ‘gig’ economy as these workers will be providing their skills in the form of ‘gigs’ as opposed to jobs.
Looking at insurance chatbots again for example up to a few years ago, and in many cases even today, insurance agents would provide consumers with quotes for insurance products personally or over the phone with a lot of personal information being provided. Through millions of dollars of investments in chatbots, this process has now become automated with bots like Maya, operated by Lemonade, providing consumers with instant quotes without making use of the phone.
Independent agents are also taking advantage of chatbots by using a bot designed and deployed by Leadsurance especially for insurance agencies in the United States.
High performing insurance agents will not shy away from having an AI assistant operating 24/7, but will rather welcome the idea.
At the same time, the majority of agents may fear the changes and turn down the idea of leveraging the benefits of a bot for their insurance agencies.
What will you do?
How will you respond to changes in the industry?
Will your insurance agency adapt, learning to survive and thrive?
Or will you resist change, and instead fade out to saavy competitors?