Travelers said it is hiring hundreds of people before the end of 2020, a large number of which will be in the technology space to help the insurer conduct business virtually.

The Hartford-based property/casualty insurer said it has nearly 800 open positions around the country, 500 of which it hopes to fill this year. Travelers is looking for software engineers, data scientists, cybersecurity, and cloud engineers and architects, among other specialties. The hires will fill both existing and new positions.

Mojgan Lefebvre/Travelers

Executives had increased recruiting of technology specialists before COVID-19, but the insurer said that rapidly changing work and customer habits brought on by the coronavirus pandemic have heightened the need for additional technology talent.

“We had been accelerating our recruiting efforts prior to COVID-19 as we expanded our capabilities in artificial intelligence, aerial imagery and other emerging technologies to understand risk in new ways and create better experiences for our customers, agents and brokers, Mojgan Lefebvre, executive vice president and chief technology & operations officer at Travelers told Carrier Management via email.

Lefebvre noted that Travelers is recruiting in multiple technology areas to make sure it has its own in-house “deep expertise” in necessary technology areas.

“As a society, and even prior to the current crisis, we have been using technology more than ever, and that has exponentially increased in recent months with the need to complete just about every task virtually,” she added.

One place where the virtual realm has taken over: Travelers has been increasingly using “state-of-the-art digital and virtual tools for the claim inspection process,” a company spokesperson said.

Travelers is hiring even as business for it and other P/C insurer has dipped in areas such as auto insurance, thanks to pandemic stay-at-home orders across the country that began earlier this spring. There are no plans to reduce staffing in other areas “in response to short-term fluctuations in business volumes,” the spokesperson added.

Travelers said many of the new hires will be at its main campuses in Hartford and St. Paul. Overall, the insurer employs about 30,000 people.