Strong demand for digital skills among HK insurers

Strong demand for digital skills among HK insurers The establishment of a powerful new insurance industry regulatory agency and ongoing pressure to digitalise is prompting a flurry of hiring activity within the insurance sector.

Insurers are searching for but facing a shortage of qualified candidates in three key areas – audit risk and compliance, transformation and distribution, according to research from recruitment agency Hays.

The Hong Kong independent Insurance Authority (IA) was established in June, and one of its primary regulatory roles is to step the flow of capital from mainland China to Hong Kong.

“We have already seen restrictions coming into effect such as caps on how much can be brought into Hong Kong. However, there has always been a demand for Mainland Chinese to invest abroad due to the perceived comparative safety,” Hays Hong Kong managing director Dean Stellard said.

“As such, we can expect to see insurers becoming aggressive and innovative when it comes to finding ways around such regulations. Eventually some kind of equilibrium will be found, but insurers will still discover ways to meet the demand.”

The foundation of the IA has also prompted institutions to rethink their approach to compliance and risk, prompting increased demand for qualified professionals in this area.

Hong Kong has meanwhile been lagging behind in terms of embracing digitalisation – or insurtech - compared to other key international insurance hubs such as London, Berlin and New York.

But some companies are taking the initiative in pursuing transformation towards leaner, more cost efficient business models.

The shortage of qualified candidates is prompting insurers to look outside the industry to other tech-savvy sectors such as banking to fill the gap, and there has been an increase in demand for jobs improving the overall customer experience, the research found.

In addition, Aviva, Tencent and private equity firm Hillhouse Capital have embarked on a joint venture to become Hong Kong’s first online insurer. If this model proves successful it will only increase the demand for candidates with digital skills.