News C-Suite 19 Feb 2018

India:Inadequate skilled workforce a huge challenge to insurers

19 Feb 2018

The Indian insurance sector today faces the challenge of limited expertise and skilled workforce, says Mr Antony Jacob CEO of Apollo Munich Health Insurance.

In an article in Businessworld, he wrote that a skilled workforce is required for risk based underwriting, creating innovative products that will appeal to people. Niche high-end skills in complex and highly-specialised areas such as risk management, credit evaluation and financial engineering are also in demand.

The lack of suitable candidates needed to handle such functions is the biggest challenge employers facing today. A recent survey estimated that there is a need of at least 2.1 million insurance educated employees by 2025.

There is also a lack of awareness among students and young professionals about national and internationally recognised certifications and training for skill development. A recent market research reveals that awareness level of internationally recognised certifications and training is medium among young professionals, though there are many firms offering such courses.

Mr Jacob says that despite building excellent educational institutions, the insurance industry is struggling hard to meet skill requirements. This is because the current education system does not consider the component of skilling in its curriculum, which in turn fails to churn out a skilled workforce necessary for the industry. Most Indian educational institutions continue to follow the traditional approach to teaching that is based on content delivery rather than on knowledge delivery. All these have created a huge gap in what the industry needs and the output of educational institutions.

More than 700 million Indians are estimated to be in the working age group (15-59) by 2022, of which more than 500 million will require some form of vocational or skill training. Statistics also show that 47% of graduates in India are not employable due to lack of English language knowledge and cognitive skills. For skilling to take wings, integration of skill development and education is essential.

Digital and self-learning

At a time when businesses are focusing on digitalisation, it is important for employees to look at self-learning online to stay relevant. In today's environment the individual has to be aggressive about their own skill development in order to prove that they can deliver at a time when digital technologies are fast developing.

A fourth industrial revolution is dawning in the insurance sector with telehealth, mobile health, wearables, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, etc changing the business landscape. There will be greater depth and breadth of analytics talent throughout organisations. Though insurers are learning new skills to stay competitive, and using technology to enhance customer experience, they face a paucity of talent in building the analytical capabilities necessary for today's business, says Mr Jacob.

To meet the talent crunch, insurers need to effectively use the emerging tech platforms. Both industry and educational institutions must work together to create a ready talent pool.


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