Hiring outside the box

Hiring outside the box
Article contributed by Luke Flory
Written on 03 March 2016

Traditional career paths have taken a backseat to more unconventional ways of arriving at your professional destination. Skills both soft and technical have become transferable. Workplaces have become more open planned and adopted more flexibility. Risks once thought immeasurable are becoming quantifiable.

Lately there has been a push for the insurance industry to shake off its traditionalist image and follow the same path. This has come about in various forms. Namely, adopting new product lines like cyber insurance to counter and limit exposure in an increasingly digitalized landscape. The escalation of the Internet of things has introduced a range of new risks and opportunities. I’m talking driverless cars, smart farms with sensors planted in the soil which indicate the ideal time to harvest your crops, sensors within clothing that detect body temperature and adjust the air conditioning accordingly. All of a sudden Insurance became interesting again.

The impact of these changes goes far beyond product lines and policies. We are starting to see it slowly but surely change the image of the archetypal insurance employee. We are also seeing Government initiatives by the Singapore government such as the Workforce Development Agencies’ Insurance Executive Professional Conversion Programme set up to encourage relevant talent into the Insurance space.

Mergers and acquisitions are becoming commonplace in an increasingly consolidated Insurance market. This has resulted in a few direct insurers dominating the market share of certain specialty lines. Some major players are dropping off the pace. Add to that the emergence of some well capitalized Insurers/Reinsurers entering the Singapore market and it’s safe to say that some longstanding insurers may find it hard to attract and retain the right talent.

Recent M & A activity seems to be driven by the need of insurers to both diversify into new markets and synergize in order to remain relevant. Working within Stirling Andersen I am finding a significant demand for Mergers and Acquisitions lawyers around the General Insurance space. This is a slight indicator that the appetite and capacity for M&A deals shows no sign of a slowing down.

A few clients I work with at Stirling Andersen have employed the approach of hiring experienced industry outsiders to bolster their specialty lines teams. Not only does it bring a new perspective, it can add vitality to otherwise underperforming teams. Within a candidate short market, it has given these Insurers and Brokers a chance to generate a competitive edge.

As new risks emerge, insurers are finding ways to diversify their product lines in order to stay relevant. Insurance industry leaders are hiring strategically in accordance with this changing risk landscape. At the risk of maintaining a reactionary approach, it’s time for Insurance companies to get forward thinking and flexible people on the tools and think outside the box when sourcing talent.

For further information and / or insight please contact Luke directly on lflory@stirlingandersen.com

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