• Tuesday, July 16, 2024
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Competition, changing environment raise appetite for quality workforce

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Responding to new market realities and remaining above board, insurance companies going forward must aggressively start transforming their core operating models to be more responsive, nimble, and cost-effective.

To support these changes, top management will be challenged to make strategic investments to overcome organisational obstacles to flexibility and growth, particularly when it comes to data management and distribution.

On a more fundamental level, insurers will likely consider adjustments to their employment model. “They may broaden recruiting strategies by determining the basic competencies required for hard-to-fill positions, and then actively target candidates not just from outside the company, but beyond the industry as well — for example, hiring out-of-work teachers with math skills who can be retrained for a career as an actuary or data analyst,” experts from Deloitte said.

Consequently, they could also look to bolster continuing education and cross-training programs that impact on operations and efficiency.

Kola Ahmed, director general, Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN), said that there must be a deliberate effort to boost organisational workforce through proper training and human capital development.

Ahmed said because of the challenges confronting that market today and attendant competition in the business environment, companies must allocate at least 20 percent of their budget spend on human capital development and training.

This he said may not close the human capital gap automatically but over time would have gradually begin to impact on quality and quantity of human capital production of the industry.

According to Deloitte analysts in the projection report for the insurance industry in 2014, insurers may adjust their performance management and compensation systems to focus more on developing the talent they already have in-house.

“The goal will be not only to improve retention of highly-skilled, experienced employees at a time when competition among carriers for talent will be fierce, but to more proactively encourage and facilitate flexibility and productivity among their entire work force.”

And instead of viewing career growth as a vertical progression within a business line or operating unit, carriers will look to create a more flexible career lattice, where individuals are given the opportunity and rewarded for extending their functional skills laterally across multiple lines and departments. This could make the employee more productive and valuable for the organisation while creating additional paths for career advancement.

Segun Omosehin, managing director, Mutual Benefits Assurance plc, said the driving force of Mutual Benefits Assurance business today is its workforce and “we are investing heavily to train these people because we need them.” According to him, the company’s workforce is over 7,000 and each has got a training budget from the company annually.

Fatain Kayode Lawal, president, CIIN, said the governing council of the institute was poised to provide platforms for knowledge sharing and for sharpening the skills of practitioners in order for them to cope with emerging challenges and explore new opportunities.

“The council is also expanding the frontiers of insurance education by supporting the teaching and learning of insurance as a course of study in both the secondary and tertiary institutions in the country,” he said.

Lawal noted that it was pertinent to reiterate the need for all hands to be on deck to ensure that the industry’s human capital continued to brace up for current and emerging challenges. “Continuous professional development was not only important in itself, but was also a point-scoring exercise and a requirement for sustaining membership of many professional bodies, including the institute.”

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