RPA and the Future of Actuarial Work
RPA is one of several “megatrends” reshaping the economy and
the nature of work itself.
Thanks to the drive for more customer-centric offerings,
transformation and modernization programs, and associated
technology innovations, the future work of actuaries and others
will be vastly different than their past work (see Figure 3).
Actuarial “customers” in the business want better, more
timely, and efficient decision support. External customers
and distributors want more personalized experiences, faster
answers, and more digital interaction. These demands are accelerating innovation and disruption and requiring new levels
of cross-functional collaboration. More and more tasks and
activities will be automated.
Although increased straight-through processing will displace
a significant number of jobs over time, the remaining workers
will be realigned to higher-value analytical and decision support
activities—with new roles and responsibilities yet to emerge.
Leaders will require new competencies to manage a workforce
that is becoming leaner, yes, but also more skilled, diverse, remote, and contingent. Attracting and retaining high-performing
workers will be more important—and more difficult—as employee expectations rise and the competition for talent intensifies.
Executives will be evaluated on their ability to drive innovation
and adopt data-driven, analytics-enabled decision-making as
the new normal.
It is a challenging time for actuaries and the industry as a
whole, but it is also an exciting era of unprecedented opportunity.
Thriving in the new era will require:
1. Strong and diverse leadership teams with the ability to align and
integrate the finance, risk, and actuarial domains and to manage
the “metrics that matter” related to growth, profitability and risk;
2. A bold vision for how work will be performed and the future-state
operating models needed to succeed (e.g., increased automation
and skilled resources focused on higher-value tasks);
3. A framework for making strategic choices—prioritizing investments based on their alignment to the company purpose and
their ability to deliver both immediate returns and sustainable
4. Deep capabilities in talent development—recruiting, developing,
retaining, and motivating high-potential staff; and
5. A culture that inspires and enables innovation and teamwork—
significant organizational change will be required to instill a
“disrupter” culture capable of adapting to and proactively driving
constant change, and leaders will need to inspire creativity and
promote increased risk-taking and innovation.
While it’s difficult to predict exactly what the future will look
like, it is clear that the actuarial functions of the future will be
leaner, more data-driven, and more technology-enabled. Actuarial
leaders who take bold action today will reap the benefits and
provide more value to the business going forward.
About the authors
MIKE HUGHES, IAN STERLING, and RAJU SAXENA are part
of Ernst & Young LLP’s Advisory Services practice.
The views expressed by the authors are their own, and not necessarily those
of Ernst & Young LLP or other members of the global EY organization.
[ 1] “What Is Robotic Process Automation?”; Institute for Robotic
Process Automation & Artificial Intelligence; undated.
[ 2] The Future of Employment; Oxford Martine Programme on
Technology and Employment; Sept. 17, 2013.
[ 3] Gartner Customer 360 Summit 2011; conference brochure; 2011.
[ 4] “Impact of Robotics, RPA and AI on the insurance industry:
challenges and opportunities”; The Journal of Financial
Perspectives: Insurance; EY; Volume 4, Issue 1; 2017.
Robotics can increase profitability
and enhance the customer experience
by improving responsiveness