It is pleasing to open my newsletter this month by telling you that we received nine entries into the Carey Bird scholarship essay. That is a record number of entries and, I like to think, is an encouraging sign for members’ willingness to undertake research and better themselves, in the pursuit of course of a wonderful prize. We expect the winner to be announced soon. And on the subject of professional development; a reminder that the AICLA/ANZIIF Sydney Claims Convention will be held on 27 September, with the Trainee Adjuster Workshop the day before. We encourage you to register to attend what has become one of the premiere events of the Australasian Insurance scene.
I receive many periodic emails, including news articles. One that struck me from Insurance Business was titled “How to avoid becoming a ‘zombie firm’ in the disruption apocalypse”. I immediately thought of needing a zombie kit of axe and chainsaw, to fight off the zombie firm invasion. What they are meaning, of course, is the risk of the sleepwalking firm.
We all know about the various predictions of what adjusting in the future might look like; drones replacing physical inspections, AI adjusting claims. Some of these are realistic and some are alarmist. There is no doubt though, that we are in a period of change. There are already examples of motor vehicle losses being completely adjusted from photos, by computer. No adjuster required.
The Insurance Business article referenced a recent Suncorp survey stating that of firms surveyed “73% are confident that they would be able to handle future disruption. However, 57% stated that they had no plans to update their products, or to address market disruption within the next five years”. “Astonishingly, only 2.5% of businesses think advances in technology present a risk to their own firm”.
One of the issues, I suspect, is that it is difficult to prepare for the unknown. The survey cited one participant as saying that ”the challenge is that you don’t know what you don’t know until it is in the market – like Airbnb going from 0 to 20% market share in 18 months”.
But, we do know that (unless you are extremely pessimistic) there is a future and that future will be different to how we operate now. At an individual level, how do we avoid becoming “zombie adjusters“, or perhaps less sensationally, sleepwalking adjusters. It is obviously a difficult proposition when the changes will come from elsewhere and will be imposed on, or sometimes created by, our employers, and they too will be simply be responding to pressure. As individuals we will have little say.
For those that have longer careers ahead of them, one can imagine (or hope) that there should always be a need for well qualified expert adjusters. The questions to ask ourselves might be: how do we maintain our currency and relevancy? What on-going courses and training will keep us at the forefront of thinking? What self-guided studying and research is available to keep our skills sharp?
This may be thinking we have heard before, and it may be similar to what I have said before, but switching off from the message and ignoring the need to stay relevant is probably exactly what makes a sleepwalking adjuster. Invariably, the future is in our own hands.
Leon Briggs, Chartered Loss Adjuster
President – AICLA