Artificial Intelligence Not Main Cause of Recent Insurance Layoffs: AM Best
AM Best does not believe artificial intelligence is the main cause of recent insurance industry layoffs.
In commentary released today, the credit rating agency wrote that “it is too soon to cite AI as the leading cause of the job losses, at least at this nascent stage.” Instead, AM Best said the layoffs likely fall into “the cyclical, rather than the structural, category.”
The rating agency explained that structural unemployment refers to jobs that are made redundant because of systemic changes and the adoption of technology, or a misalignment between business needs and employee skills. Cyclical unemployment refers to employment fluctuations driven by the business cycle, “which seems to be the case in the insurance industry,” AM Best said.
This insight comes after Liberty Mutual, American Family and GEICO announced staff reductions in recent months. AM Best wrote that personal lines are most affected by the latest layoffs, as loss ratios and underwriting margins are pressured by loss cost inflation, reinsurance capacity and pricing and rising climate risk.
The commentary said the recent insurer layoffs alone do not signal ratings pressure.
AM Best did share that artificial intelligence-related advances will gradually reshape the outlook for insurance industry employment. Many insurance companies are experimenting with and are motivated by generative AI’s customer service potential, AM Best reported, later noting that the speed at which AI develops over the coming years will determine the level of industry disruption.
“Although the overall impact of generative AI on employment remains uncertain, it will likely change the way society works, as current employees learn to leverage the power of this developing technology,” AM Best said.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, hiring by insurance carriers and related companies slowed to an estimated 1,100 positions in October. This was down from September, when the BLS reported 3,900 people were hired, and July, when 8,300 new workers were brought on board.
Insurance technology companies have also been downsizing. Hippo, Branch Insurance, Corvus Insurance and Pie Insurance announced layoffs earlier this year. Last year, Thimble, NEXT, Lemonade and Root were among the insurtechs trimming their workforces.
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