Retain Employees, Attract New Talent with Modern Core Systems

By Brian Retson | June 24, 2013

Let’s face it: The insurance industry is not known for its stellar technology score card. For example, many insurers are still limping along with clunky, outdated core systems that limit productivity, hinder customer satisfaction and frustrate users. But these are not the only disadvantages insurers encounter by relying on dusty old systems. They also stand to lose out on attracting new, vibrant talent – and even retaining the employees they’ve got.

Modern Technology

While the current unemployment rate may indicate some desperation, most looking for a job (or a job change) likely still require the basics – competitive salary, opportunity for growth and benefits – before deciding to take a new position.

In the insurance industry, whether or not a company has deployed a modern core system is also a major consideration, especially since the typical legacy system’s drawbacks are the stuff of nightmares. Potential employees who are new to the industry might not know that they have a preference for modern core systems, but even they will quickly figure it out. As any industry veteran will confide, working hard to meet rising demands with an inflexible, inefficient system can drive away even the most loyal employees who find they can no longer cope with the aggravation and stress.

Modern core systems deliver significant tangible benefits that can be measured in dollars and cents.

Indeed, fabled stories of legacy systems’ complexity, inefficiency and inability to scale to meet a company’s growing, dynamic needs are plenty, and they carry over to tech-savvy candidates and employees. For these workers at the forefront of technological progress, intuitive interfaces and immediate access to context-driven information are not just nice to have. They are expected. The archaic, cumbersome systems of the days of yore are a complete mystery – one they won’t stick around to solve.

Defining the Ideal Core System

So, what is it about a modern core system that attracts and helps to retain top talent?

For many insurance companies, a system that automates processes is the Holy Grail. And truly, this capability is important. Not only is efficiency achieved, but by automating tasks, the insurance professional is better able to focus on higher-level, value-added tasks that can lead to other types of benefits like better cross-sell conversion, improved fraud detection, higher recoveries, and so on. However, by focusing singularly on automation, a fundamental attribute is ignored: flexibility. When flexibility is built into a core system, insurance professionals can innovate, collaborate and expand beyond levels they previously thought possible. These are some of the attributes new candidates are hoping to find in the core system in which they work each day.

An ideal modern core system is also context-driven; that is, the right person has instant access to all relevant information based on who they are, what they’re doing and when they need it. This idea of “context” is especially important in today’s insurance environment, where tomes of data exist with no organized way to mine it for information specific to the task at hand. Without the ability to put data in context, insurance professionals must rely on only the data and tools they can readily access, which means leveraging internal data, past experiences, and a patchwork of external data from vendors, industry groups and government. For those new to the company or insurance, this can be daunting.

Context-driven core systems emerge as the best way to help insurance professionals make informed decisions – and making informed decisions means an employee, new or existing, is empowered for success. These systems take a three-pronged approach to data: connecting data sources, curating them for context, and funneling it all through an easy-to-use application. The context is then delivered instantly by that application into the daily workflow, making it accessible when needed.

Clearly, a modern core system that incorporates these functionalities makes for a happier employee base and lower turnover, and makes the decision easier for a potential candidate focused on finding a long-term employment opportunity.

There’s no question that modern core systems deliver significant tangible benefits that can be measured in dollars and cents. But deploying a modern core system can also deliver strategic benefits; namely, the ability to attract top talent by standing out in a market where the playing field is increasingly leveled by technology.

About Brian Retson

Retson is product marketing manager at Guidewire Software, a global provider of software products to property/casualty insurers. Email: bretson@guidewire.com

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