Xceedance’s Kulkarni: Industry must foster a “change of mindset” to recruit new talent

The insurance industry must foster "a change of mindset" among young professionals if it is to enhance talent recruitment and retention, according to Xceedance’s EVP of Americas Sachin Kulkarni.

Speaking to The Insurer TV at the E&S Insurer Conference last month, Kulkarni expressed concerns about the recruitment challenges facing the industry.

"For some reason, insurance has a bad reputation in the market. No one seems to want to go to insurance. Everyone seems to land into insurance," Kulkarni remarked.

To address this, Kulkarni emphasised the importance of insurance companies taking steps to make the industry more appealing to new talent.

For example, Xceedance is partnering with universities to educate students about "how important insurance is in the ecosystem, and how it brings value to society", Kulkarni said.

“The acute lack of qualified personnel available to work in insurance is fuelled by public perceptions of the industry: insurance isn’t seen as a hero job, a role that attracts respect,” Xceedance wrote in a blog post on its website titled “Addressing perceptions to avoid a talent shortage”.

“While insurers are constantly paying claims, that is not the public perception. We need to alert people to insurance’s critical function in helping people and making the world a better place,” the company added.

Navigating technological evolution: embracing change in the insurance industry

Another concerning trend in the market, according to Kulkarni, is the speed of change. As technology rapidly evolves, the market must adapt and leverage new technological advancements to enhance services. However, Kulkarni views this as an opportunity rather than a worry.

"I personally think it's an opportunity to do better, and from an insurance company standpoint, I think that's where they need to focus – what is core to them," Kulkarni stated.

“For an insurance company, underwriting is pretty important. So let's look at ways to keep improving underwriting year on year. We can not think that how we did underwriting in 2023 is going to hold true in 2025,” Kulkarni explained.

At Xceedance, Kulkarni elaborated on the company's technology-first approach, emphasising the utilisation of new tools and technology.

"Service providers or consulting providers like Xceedance are always viewed as wanting a people-based engagement. The larger the number of people, the happier we are," said Kulkarni.

"We wanted to change that mindset with our clients and the partners that we are working with. We actually took a step back and said we are not going to be people-first, we are going to be technology-first. And that's how we started by saying we need to invest in platforms and tools."

Kulkarni further explained: "Every time we start a consulting engagement or a services engagement, we always bring a technology footprint upfront. We want to put a workflow management tool upfront right away from day one."

However, Kulkarni emphasised that implementing new technologies will not happen overnight, and companies should focus on rolling out these changes in a way that is easy for employees to navigate.

"Let's look at what your landscape looks like. Let's look at what challenges you're facing, and then, introduce it and slowly then start to evolve it," Kulkarni suggested.

"There is machine learning, there is digitalisation, some people talk about OCR, some people talk about platforms," Kulkarni continued, highlighting the various technologies available. He stressed that companies should proceed cautiously as "it's not going to be an overnight change".

"People are going to be able to incorporate it into the organisation, but it certainly will be something that will happen over a year to two to three years," Kulkarni added.