Millennial impact: Preparing for the generational shift in workers’ comp

By Alfred Faber  |  August 14, 2018

Workplace demographics are rapidly changing, and if insurers don’t prepare, they’ll face significant challenges. Millennials will make up 75 percent of the workforce by 2025.[1] For insurers, this should be a wake-up call. Consider this:

  • Of the 2.3 million insurance professionals, 1 million will retire in the next ten years.[2]
  • The industry will need to fill 400,000 positions by 2020.[3]
  • Seventy percent of adjusters are over the age of 40.[4]

This impending shift in the industry will soon result in a massive loss of institutional knowledge. What does this mean for the workers’ compensation landscape? We must change the way we do business, and technology plays a vital role in the transition. Here are five ways to prepare for the changing workforce.

          1. Close the knowledge gap—quickly.

The demands of compliance and claims handling can’t wait for a less experienced workforce to get up to speed. That’s why insurers are going to have to leverage products and services that are user-friendly and require less overall institutional knowledge.

Where a seasoned adjuster can rely on experience to manage claims quickly or recognize a severe claim, the same claims may take hours of research for a less experienced adjuster. Technology such as predictive analytics can help inform decisions, close the knowledge gap, and boost productivity for younger professionals.

          2. Cater to millennials’ need for speed.

For a generation that emerged during the advent of smartphones, touch screens, and instant everything, the inefficiencies in workers’ compensation can be extremely frustrating. The industry is currently caught between archaic processes and progressive systems.

In compliance, there are still those who collect and report data on paper. Even companies that have transitioned to electronic reporting often still require adjusters to enter data manually on the computer. Millennials desire automation that eliminates the need for manual input.

          3. Motivate with knowledge.

It’s not enough for millennials to handle a task. They want to understand the “why” behind business processes. That’s why having access to benchmarks and key performance indicators (KPIs) is more important than ever.

Younger workers expect to see metrics and dig into the insights that drive success. If a company is experiencing positive acceptance rates and response times, they want to know why. Likewise, they want to pinpoint problems to improve results. These are the types of insights that motivate millennials’ work.

          4. Facilitate collaborative work.

Millennials are collaborative by nature and thrive in group settings. While workers’ comp practices have traditionally been individualistic, it’s time to break that mold. A study found that companies that promoted collaborative work were five times more productive than companies that didn’t have collaborative work environments.[5]

The industry improvements and solutions of tomorrow can’t be developed in a vacuum. We need people to work together to analyze data, share insights, and find solutions.

          5. Focus on making a meaningful impact.

Many millennials want their work to make a profound impact. Workers’ compensation allows professionals to have a significant effect on someone’s life, whether it’s helping an injured worker receive a fair settlement or assisting that individual in getting back to work.

There’s considerable human touch involved in the work that appeals to millennials. However, large caseloads can consume their time and keep them from fulfilling that desire. Process automation can help them manage those caseloads and free up more time for the interpersonal aspect of the job.

Equipping millennials to succeed

Preparing for the future of workers’ comp means establishing systems and practices that position millennials to succeed and solve the problems of tomorrow. The millennial generation has great appreciation and familiarity with technology and recognizes its ability to augment business processes and automate time-consuming tasks. Insurers should look to capitalize on these characteristics by leveraging technological solutions.

ISO Claims Partners has a suite of products that uses predictive analytics based on broad industry data to help insurers improve their workers’ comp claims process. For more information, ISO Claims Partners via phone at 1-866-630-2772 or via e-mail at CPinfo@verisk.com.


Alfred Faber

Alfred Faber is director and division head for ISO’s Workers’ Compensation Solutions (WCS). As director of the WCS division, he is responsible for the general operations and strategic growth of ISO’s workers’ compensation data practice.