Happy New Year! And welcome to 2023, a year which appears to offer great promise, fascinating contradictions, and some real risks for insurance carriers as they execute in what feels like a different era. The changes we have experienced over the past three years have been profound and, in many ways, have altered our trajectory.
We are, we hope, finally entering a post-pandemic era. Many of the locations and activities that were restricted in some way from 2020-2022 now seem open again. In-person events are once again a real thing to plan for, shared office spaces generally appear more accessible, and the reimplementation some of the more draconian approaches to managing public health seems unlikely.
All of these elements seem to be part of the new playbook. But even here, contradictions exist. With compromised immune systems, the planning and management of in-person events may still require extra care. In-person meetings and office utilization have many attractive elements, but remote work remains very much a part of employee expectations for the future. As valuable as shared, in-person experiences can be, virtualization creates real benefits which many organizations will be loath to give up. In other words, it will be a hybrid world as we look into the future, which has both operational and technical implications.
Why Planning Was Harder This Year
Last year’s planning process seemed to be interminable! Many organizations went much longer than they normally do because of uncertainty about the economic environment. Interest rates are rising, which should address the long-term carrier concern about the implications of persistently low rates for an extended period of time.
On the other hand, Federal Reserve action has led to concerns about where a recession was on the horizon as the Fed works to tamp down inflation. The possibility of a soft landing, which would be good for insurers, is hardly a certainty, which warrants the kind of planning care we’re experiencing across the industry.
Through all of this, technology concerns continue to mount, and the drive toward digital engagement, which was amplified during the pandemic, shows no signs of abating. The demographic shifts in the U.S. labor force are very real, with younger baby boomers all within striking range of retirement eligibility, and Gen Z (i.e., Zoomers) now rapidly growing their clout.
What to Do About It
By 2030, they will represent fully 30% of the labor force. This group’s expectations as both consumers and employees are very different than what companies expected based on their older siblings and parents. To maximize results, carriers will need to deal with a world which is increasingly segmented and where “one-size-fits-all” solutions increasingly risk becoming “one size fits none.”
While talent management is a key consideration for companies in an era highlighted by the Great Resignation, a potentially even more important issue relates to knowledge management. The systems and processes which transitioned key knowledge from generation to generation may no longer be effective as the career cycle times for employees evolve. An array of approaches may need to be implemented to address this issue which, at some level, contributed to the public meltdown of Southwest Airlines over the 2022 year-end holidays.
With all of that, access to real-time insights and actionable perspectives are more important than ever. We are excited that 2023 is allowing Aite-Novarica Group’s Insurance Practice to return to a full schedule of traditional events, starting with a Research Council meeting in May. These are unique opportunities for CIOs and their teams to gain access to information that can be directly applied as they look to navigate this exciting, yet potentially tumultuous, era. Game on for the New Year, indeed.