2022 Insurance Industry Outlook
Digital and talent transformation accelerating as insurers adapt for postpandemic growth
2021 saw widespread vaccine deployment and easing of pandemic-related restrictions—important catalysts that helped rebuild confidence among people and businesses alike, while fueling economic recovery. But the battle with COVID-19 is far from over, and a level of uncertainty will likely persist— perhaps indefinitely. Might this undermine the insurance industry’s outlook heading into 2022? Our research found that despite ongoing COVID-19 concerns, insurers in general expect more rapid growth next year—although nonpandemic challenges around regulation, talent, sustainability, and evolving consumer preferences may present speed bumps. A lot will depend on how effectively insurers manage their investments in people and emerging technologies. Flexible work models, balancing automation with the need to maintain a human touch with customers and being more proactive in bolstering stakeholders’ trust should be among the industry’s strategic priorities.
Insurers are buckled up to accelerate growth in 2022
Despite lingering concerns about COVID-19 variants, most insurers expect an accelerating economic recovery and additional digital technology investments in 2022. About one-third of the survey respondents expect revenues to be “significantly better” next year. The demand for insurance is expected to keep rising worldwide (figure 1).
Yet the ride could be bumpy
The challenges insurers face range from economic hurdles such as the potential for sustained inflation; to sustainability concerns including climate risk, diversity, and financial inclusion; to rapidly evolving consumer product and purchase preferences.
Attracting (and retaining) talent in an evolving hybrid work environment will be key
Future of work considerations have also multiplied as carriers seek to create flexible return-to-office strategies while simultaneously struggling to retain and recruit high-level talent in a very competitive job market—particularly for those with advanced technology and data analytics skills.
Insurers need to find ways to balance technology adoption with maintaining the human touch
Insurers are increasingly dependent on emerging technologies and data sources to drive efficiency, enhance cybersecurity, and expand capabilities across the organization. However, most should also focus on improving the customer experience by both streamlining processes with automation as well as providing customized service where needed and preferred.
With the pandemic have come opportunities to boost stakeholder trust
On a more fundamental level, many carriers can consider taking steps to bolster trust among stakeholders to boost retention and profitability. This might be achieved in part through greater transparency in how insurers collect and utilize personal data. They can also become more proactive in seeking comprehensive solutions to big picture societal problems—such as mitigating the financial impact of future pandemics and closing coverage gaps for natural catastrophes.
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