Struggling in a skills shortage market
According to the Hays Salary Guide FY23/24, a survey of more than 14,000 respondents revealed that 90% of insurance employers noted a shortage of skilled employees. In fact, the insurance sector ranked seventh among the industries most affected by skill shortages in Australia. The most in-demand roles within the insurance industry include commercial brokers, SME underwriters, property and casualty underwriters, liability claims consultants, and specialists in workers’ compensation.

With the lack of skilled talent, it’s no wonder that the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) has raised concerns regarding the surge of complaints from consumers who are engaged in disputes with financial firms. A staggering total of 96,987 complaints from customers were recorded, an unprecedented increase of 34% compared to the prior fiscal year. There was a 76% increase of complaints about the extended processing time for insurance claims, an overall increase of 50% for general insurance complaints, a 32% increase in superannuation-related complaints, and a whopping 136% uptick in complaints about claim delays.

Bridging the gap with international talent parenting
To address the skills shortage, staff turnover, inflation, and the rising customer complaints within the industry, insurance companies have turned to a viable solution that can deliver a significant impact on their business: international talent partnering.

Beyond the usual outsourcing framework, this model involves partnering with a remote staffing solutions service to build dedicated teams abroad for back-office support functions. Brokers and underwriters have direct involvement in the recruitment process to ensure the candidates will be the best fit for the role and for the company, both technically and culturally.

Whilst legally employed by the staffing provider, these international teams are considered as valued extensions of the in-house team – fully adhering to the company’s culture, mission, vision, values, regulations, and data security measures – however, based in a different country.

Daniel Breese, Director of Growth for ASW Global (an Australian company that specialises in building dedicated remote teams), explained the meteoric rise of this talent acquisition method within the Australian business community. “The pandemic brought about the ultimate education in remote working capability. We’re seeing a growing demand from business leaders aiming to leverage local staff capability. By removing the administrational burden, staff are now able to focus on delivering greater value to clients, whilst still having full control of their processes and team culture.”

Reaping the benefits of a successful partnership
Whilst brokers and underwriting administrators are highly sought after, ASW is seeing equal interest in a range of department capability that includes Finance, Compliance, HR, IT and Marketing. This is fuelling ASW’s growth, which now boasts more than 1,600 staff globally, and is proud to call some of Australia’s most recognised insurance brands as long-term clients.

Australian insurance companies such as BizCover, Omnisure, Mainstay Underwriting, Community Underwriting, and Aviso Broking are currently employing international staff to solve their own talent shortage issues. They have tapped the services of ASW to build their remote teams from their Vietnam, Malaysian, and Philippine offices. Their feedback has been positive, as it has yielded substantial growth for their business.

Luke Eagle, Director of Aviso Broking, did a deep dive for a better understanding of the whole process. “I researched it, and went in-depth on work environment, cost, benefits, training, the role requirements, and the providers. I needed to see, touch, feel, and make sure it met my checklist. This paid off for Aviso Broking when they decided to build their international team. “We’ve been on a significant growth curve and had a number of changes and acquisitions in the business. We’ve been able to build a small, highly effective team that provides enormous value to our brokers and clients. The overall capability has been brilliant, and we’ve enjoyed the process.”

Adam Dalton, Managing Director of Mainstay Underwriting, had this to say about the collaboration. ”(We have) been struggling to find employees in Australia for quite some time. We’ve added a support team to our underwriting function that has allowed our team to streamline processes. Where we were struggling, we now have a partner that has removed that pain point.”

Omnisure CEO Schalk Van Der Merwe shared their experience. “We have our own dedicated account manager and direct access to the onboarding, recruitment, and engagement teams. Our team in Malaysia now handles multiple key business functions for Omnisure.” Bjorn Meier, COO of BizCover, remarked about its effect on their business growth. “The partnership has enabled us to scale rapidly to meet our fast-growing client needs.”

By integrating international teams into their corporate structure, insurance companies can not only bolster their workforce but also gain a competitive edge in a rapidly evolving market. The synergy between these high-performing teams and local knowledge can pave the way for innovative solutions and superior customer service, ultimately ensuring a brighter and more sustainable future for the Australian insurance industry.