Think about the last vacation you went on. How did you prepare? Did you get insight from a travel agent, ask your friend for tips or spend hours online to build the perfect itinerary? Regardless of your method, you likely did some kind of research. And rightly so. You want to make sure your time and money are spent wisely so you get the most out of your well-deserved vacay. Making the effort to research before investing (time or money) into something can definitely pay off – especially in your career. Whether you are just starting out, managing a team or leading a company – research should play a key role in shaping decisions for yourself and the organization you are part of.
Over the past 10 years, we’ve seen how research can play a fundamental role to success in the life and re/insurance industry. If research isn’t your forte, we’re breaking down 3 ways to leverage research in the insurance world.
Establish fair compensation
Not only can compensation research help people entering, or currently in, the insurance industry, but it can also help Human Resource departments and business managers. For career hunters or those with secured roles in insurance, you work hard to find the right company and job so why be left in the dust when it comes to compensation. Hint, hint….don’t be! For individuals, do your research to determine what the average salary is for your role and other elements that can affect compensation. For example, being bilingual, the amount of experience you have or certifications completed can all play factors in calculating compensation for underwriters.
For Human Resource departments or business managers looking to hire, performing research allows you to establish benchmarks for fair compensation. While employee happiness isn’t solely based on pay, it can be a contributing factor in attracting and retaining talent. Be aware of industry standards and what your peers in the market are willing to offer.
Where can you get this kind of information?
If you are short on time, Glassdoor is a great resource to quickly research salaries of companies you are interested in. It’s straight from the source, as current or former employees upload the information. If you are looking for something more in depth you can spend time researching industry specific studies. For example, we conducted a study on Life Underwriting Compensation Benchmark to gather insights on compensation for Life Underwriters in Canada.
Understand industry landscape
Another way to leverage research in insurance is to get a better understanding of the industry landscape. This kind of research can help you identify the latest trends, opportunity gaps and or even risks. It’s critical to anyone in the industry, regardless of your position, as it helps inform where to focus your efforts. Perhaps you are looking to launch an insurance product that targets baby boomers but research indicates millennials are the generation to capitalize on. Don’t tread lightly when it comes to making important decisions, particularly ones that require heavy investment in both time and money. While some studies can seem daunting, the insights will provide valuable return in the long run.
So what resources are available to provide insights on the insurance landscape?
There are plenty of research groups that conduct surveys on the insurance industry. Analyst firms like Novarica, Celent and Gartner conduct studies for the insurance industry on topics including digital trends, legacy transformation and policy administration systems. They have a plethora of information for paid members to learn about all different aspects of the industry that can help you make informed decisions for your strategy.
While those examples cover a wide variety of topics, other researchers take a more specific approach. For example Flaspohler Research (a NMG Company) conducts a reinsurance survey every two years which focuses on the Cedant Perceptions of Reinsurers. The data is fueled by reinsurers that subscribe to be part of the study. PwC takes a similar approach, in terms of a paid study, when conducting their survey to understand risks to the insurance industry every other year. These kinds of studies offer comparative data to understand trends over time and unique perspectives from those in the industry.
Improve internal business environment and operations
So you know where to find research to help inform business decisions and market positioning but where can you go to inform strategies for your internal environment? After all, even the best business plans can’t be executed without the right people, operations, and systems functioning internally.
As reinsurance operations experts, we see the value in understanding the overall operations landscape of a company. Having this knowledge helps us make better decisions and offer valuable products to the market. We constantly strive to change the industry for the better, but this wouldn’t be possible without understanding the foundation of operations.
I mentioned above, research is a great way to educate yourself on industry matters – but when it came to reinsurance operations we realized that no specific studies are dedicated to this. Since curiosity never sleeps around here, we decided to conduct our own study to fill this knowledge gap. Doing so not only provided us with valuable insights but also gives to educate the industry overall.
The nature of the study also allows the industry to have a better understanding of their peers’ current outlook and focus on key information including trends in staffing, IT outsourcing, system investments, stance on innovation and more.
The result? A comprehensive look at the operational side of life reinsurance, with lucrative insights our industry can use to improve internal processes. Wondering what we uncovered? Stay tuned for upcoming blogs where we’ll breakdown our findings. In the meantime, we recently presented summary findings of the study results at the ReFocus Conference and we're sharing it with you!
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