Crawford’s Verma calls on industry to proactively address talent and skills shortage

Talent scarcity and skills deficits are creating urgency to bolster industry talent reserves – especially on the claims side of the business, according to Nidhi Verma, chief people and ESG officer at Crawford & Company.

During an interview at the company’s headquarters in Atlanta, Verma told The Insurer TV that the shortage is the result of a “perfect storm” of events, including a tight market, an ageing workforce, and the exponential growth of digitisation and automation.

“All of this together has caused a skill deficit and a skill shortage, and created a sense of urgency for organisations where they need to increase investment in training,” said Verma.

Crawford lists itself as the world’s largest public independent provider of claims management solutions to insurance companies and self-insured entities, serving clients in more than 70 nations.

Verma said Crawford works to embed talent nurturing techniques into its company culture.

“I believe that organisations, before starting to invest in their training infrastructure, have to foster a learning culture. At Crawford, we have had a relentless focus on training right from our founding days – we have training ingrained in our values,” she said.

In line with its origins, Crawford emphasises continuous learning, improvement and innovation, said Verma. This framing helps to offset a classic underinvestment in talent that Verma said permeates the industry, impacting both the quality and quantity of high level employees. But it will likely take a group effort to stem the talent crisis.

“We really have to come together as an industry, all the organisations have to come together and create a ‘coalition of the willing’, so to speak, where we can learn from each other, we can lean on each other,” said Verma.

“And we can create digital communities, collaboration communities, through open source learning platforms, through Metaverse, where any learner can learn, can access any content anytime, anywhere,” she added.

If one can demonstrate the value of training, investment is sure to follow, according to Verma. But organisations also have to invest in the right technology to retain and nurture talent.

Human capital management

In the last 18 months Crawford has rolled out an enterprise-wide cloud-based human capital management platform which Verma said will soon be able to assist with career pathing.

“What it's going to allow us to do is, every employee can identify their skills, they can record their skills, and we can actually create a skills taxonomy, which can help us in crafting a personalised learning pathway,” said Verma.

This platform will be integrated with Crawford’s recruiting modules, so employees can track and apply for positions that best match their skill set.

Crawford also offers training programs for its clients, sharing its learning services and solutions with outside teams. Verma said one of the company’s most popular offerings is an online learning platform called KMC.

“KMC actually has about 50+ courses, technical courses on property, casualty, and workers compensation. And it's also some of these courses, in fact, a majority of these courses are approved for continuing education credits by states,” said Verma.

Ultimately, Vermin says training can steer an employee’s wayward performance back on track, and help to turn performance problems into possibilities.

“So whether it's table stakes training through technical training or human skills training, building our brain trust or muscle memory, it's the training that is a true engine for driving maximum and maximising performance.”

Watch this 12-minute interview to hear Crawford’s Nidhi Verma on:

  • Virtual realities place in the claims ecosystem
  • How Crawford has embraced the growth mindset
  • The importance of reskilling and upskilling in the claims process
  • How digitisation and automation are transforming the industry