Major global companies in technology, digital and financial sectors are seeking a record number of insurance executives with the combination of both digital and industry or ‘domain’ experience, according to global executive search firm TritonExec. Companies seeking these C-Suite executives require both insurance expertise and high levels of ‘digital proficiency’ – a combination of which is currently scarce within the insurance market and beyond.
The observation comes from TritonExec data which indicates 58 per cent of assignments across its primary practice areas of digital and private equity, are for insurance executives with a strong ‘digital acumen’.
“Insurance as an industry has been notoriously slow in its digital embrace, however we’re seeing it play catch up at a rapid pace,” says Abe Doctor, head of TritonExec in the US. “Within insurance, underwriters are now being required to have ‘digital acumen’ to speak to product teams, for example. The significance of our research speaks of a much more important trend: Growing global companies outside the insurance market – yet with a requirement for insurance executives – need the combination of both digital and industry experience – at a time when these individuals are scarce.
“Leading global insurers are facing a human capital challenge unlike anything in history, with the lack of digital proficiency among its incoming wave of leadership,” adds Abe. “Current insurance industry leadership lack the experience to keep these companies evolving given the rate of disruption from Insuretech.”
The company adds that there is a trend for legacy insurers to acquire Insuretechs largely for their human capital who are digitally and industry proficient. “Our evidence of this is the vast sums of capital flowing into private equity businesses run by executives with the right combination of these much needed skills,” says Abe. “Both insuretech and the legacy insurance market need one another. We’re seeing Insuretechs acquiring star performers from legacy insurers with decades worth of valuable experience – to new companies typically formed by younger non-industry individuals. On the reverse, we see legacy insurers unable to compete with the pool of both industry and digital talent honed by Insuretechs which is then leading them to acquire these new companies.”
Georgina Pawley, senior director and global transformation practice lead at TritonExec, commented: “Our clients include one of the largest publicly traded consulting firms, as well as a multi-billion dollar growth firm backed by private equity, where during the past 18 months we have seen the rise in executive level mandates as they look to build out global teams of digitally capable, partner and VP level leaders who bring subject matter expertise across underwriting, claims, analytics, products and technology.”
In Q1 of 2018 TritonExec reported an increase across its primary practice areas (digital services and private equity) of 60 per cent in revenues. This remains in Q2 with insurance briefs topping the list of search assignments.