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Next Gen Insurance IT Workers

Robert Regis Hyle | December 05, 2014

There are dozens of issues that keep insurers tossing and turning all night. We’ve learned over the years that no two insurance carriers are alike, so it stands to reason that they all have different challenges in front of them.

There does seem to be one universal point of concern, though, and that involves finding the next generation of insurance IT leaders. Insurers face a difficult challenge because not only are our colleges producing fewer graduates interested in IT positions, but the insurance industry itself is viewed as being less than sexy.

As an insurance IT leader recently told me, how do you expect to hire a sharp young graduate if you tell him or her that the next two years will be spent replacing legacy systems? The reward of being able to work with modern systems somewhere down the line is hardly enticing for someone who likely has their pick of industries to join, most of which aren’t hindered by ancient systems.

The current generation of college business majors is savvier about technology than any class ever, which is good for all types of industries. The relationship between business and technology has grown tremendously in the last five years and will dominate the way companies do business over the next five years.

Still, understanding technology is one thing; being able to develop and produce the tools that business people need is quite another.

It means that insurers are going to have to find ways to introduce young people to insurance technology. Telematics could be a great start, but it needs to go beyond personal auto coverage.

For insurers looking beyond the year 2020, I might suggest they keep an eye on a young man named Brady Fitzpatrick. His dad, Ryan, is a Harvard grad and an NFL quarterback. After throwing six touchdown passes in a game recently, Ryan brought his son in front of the assembled media and asked one of the reporters to pick two numbers between 90 and 99 and his son would multiply them in his head.

After getting the two numbers, the youngster popped out the right answer in a matter of seconds. Cute parlor trick? Maybe. And certainly IT people need more than math skills, but to visualize a problem in your mind and find a solution quickly is an impressive feat for any of us at any age and that’s what a good IT worker is all about.

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The Email Chat is a regular feature of the ITA Pro magazine and website. We send a series of questions to an insurance IT leader in search of thought-provoking responses on important issues facing the insurance industry.


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