The insurance industry made a smooth transition to a largely remote workforce when the COVID-19 pandemic began, with most companies reporting either no change or even an increase in employee productivity and efficiency, according to a new report from Accenture.

More than 30 percent of CIOs surveyed saw increases in productivity and efficiency (e.g., for technology innovation and testing/deployment) compared to less than 13 percent who reported negative effects. When it comes to operations (claims, underwriting, customer acquisition/retention), nearly 27 percent of CIOs and COOs reported gains in productivity and/or efficiency, while only about 14 percent reported negative effects.

However, while the majority of chief human resources officers (80 percent) agreed that workforce engagement and productivity is high, the combination of global pandemic and work-from-home may be taking a toll on workers’ mental health: 55 percent of CHROs noted that employees were reporting an increased amount of anxiety and depression, and 73 percent said employees are feeling a greater degree of pressure due to the pandemic.

Still, 79 percent of insurance CHROs said a majority of their employees want the option to continue working from home, and the vast majority (87 percent) believe remote working is sustainable long-term. CIO/COO respondents agree, with 72 percent saying they don’t expect all of the remote workforce to be called back to the office.

Accenture surveyed 133 executives from U.S. insurers in mid-June: 33 chief human resources officers (CHROs), 50 chief information officers (CIOs) and 50 chief operating officers (COOs).

Source: Accenture