Blog: Future-proof professional indemnity

Colin Brown

Tokio Marine HCC’s Colin Brown explains how the world of work is changing and why PI providers must respond.

In 2016, the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Future of Jobs report, suggested the most in-demand occupations or specialist roles did not exist ten or even five years ago, and it estimated 65% of children entering primary school in 2016 will end up working in jobs that don’t yet exist.

Fast forward two years and the Dell Technologies Realize 2030 report paints an even more startling scenario; it predicts 85% of jobs in 2030 won’t have been invented yet.

We’re in the midst of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and it’s changing the way we live, work and relate to one another.  The internet, cloud technology, advances in computing power and big data are at the forefront of this revolution, creating flexible, remote and co-working environments.

The WEF predicts organisations will in the future have a small pool of full-time employees in fixed roles, supported by colleagues in other countries and consultants/contractors for specific projects. In many cases, the talent and resources companies connect to could become more important than their own in-house assets.

And as developments in artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, nanotechnology, 3D printing, genetics and biotechnology generate new categories of jobs, whole industries will have to adjust, plus we’re yet to see new ones emerge.

Looking at the roles of the future, the WEF identifies architecture, engineering, computer design and mathematics as growth sectors and says data analysts and skilled technicians, will be in demand.

Is the insurance industry ready for this ‘world order’ change where sectors disappear, new ones evolve and global employment becomes the norm? Over time, consultants and contractors will increasingly replace employees so it’s vital Professional Indemnity (PI) specialists ‘future-proof’ their cover to protect clients differing liability scenarios.

While the insurance industry may not be able to see into the future or underwrite roles that are yet to exist, we do know our clients, individuals and SMEs,  are likely to work globally and they’ll invariably use a diverse global talent pool (with global rather than local risk exposures).

There will equally be wider liability issues.  As technology automates sectors, for example production lines and vehicles), replaces roles and becomes the tool to buy goods and services, what happens when a fault causes business losses or worse?  In the event of a claim, does liability lie with the person designing/programming the technology, the platform it sits on or the company using it?

As our reliance on technology escalates – today we use numerous apps to order taxis, book flights, buy products, make payments, watch films, listen to music and order food, etc. – this topic continues to be well-debated. However, it’s clear these activities will be dwarfed by the technology of the future.

As a result, we must ensure PI keeps pace with technological and societal changes. Smarter underwriting and tailored cover is a prerequisite, and we like other sectors, will need to embrace artificial intelligence and use technology to create opportunities and develop data-led innovative products.

Colin Brown is senior business development underwriting manager at Tokio Marine HCC.

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