An Insurance Perspective: 2016 Outlook

We're delighted to have Lyam Redmond - Senior Consultant, Finance at Oliver James Associates - as today's Guest Blogger. Lyam discusses the insurance finance trends from 2015 and their potential impact on the industry this year. 

2015 was a challenging year for the insurance industry with soft market conditions, the threat of natural catastrophes and emerging risks all having been key industry themes. 2016 will see an ever increasing demand on insurers to adapt and innovate in response to pricing pressures, regulatory change and low interest rates.

How have these industry-wide themes impacted finance and what does this mean for 2016?

A boom in mergers and acquisitions has created a risk landscape that is shifting ever more rapidly for the insurance industry. H1 of 2015 was the busiest six months for M&A for three years with 225 deals worldwide. Integration work from personnel to systems to target operating models will revolutionise the shape of insurers, and despite the challenges M&A activity will bring, the need to modernise and adapt is paramount to remain competitive in a challenging industry. As a result, we predict that recruitment trends will include finance roles with a project, transformation and integration feel alongside a heavy focus on systems and people management.

The introduction of Solvency II Pillar III reporting has meant an intensification of regulatory scrutiny and a demand on insurers for transparency. Its arrival means a consistent, risk-based, solvency regime will promote financial strength across the industry. Throughout the year we saw technical, solvency II focused finance roles shift from project based contract positions to BAU permanent roles. In H2 of 2015, solvency II roles accounted for 35% of all permanent finance vacancies. This presence of BAU Solvency II reporting positions is a trend set to continue throughout 2016 as finance teams align themselves to current, external reporting requirements.

A key factor prevalent in a number of our client’s business strategies for 2016 is a focus on its core markets. This existence of key business realignment has led to increased scrutiny on cost and control. We have seen global, finance off shoring projects, location strategies and huge cost reduction programmes with ambitious targets set within Plan. In H2 of 2015, 65% of all finance business partner roles focused on strategic expense management. I anticipate the continuation of finance roles with a heavy focus on cost and control as we progress through 2016. This increasing relationship between cost and business strategy is creating a demand for accountants with strong commercial acumen and a strategic mind-set.   

In a challenging and competitive marketplace, the need to attract and retain the very best in industry talent remains fundamental to success. The finance team at Oliver James Associates are highly skilled in advising on the best way to approach attracting finance talent for the insurance market.

Why not join Lyam's 'Insurance Finance Professionals' LinkedIn group, set up specifically for Finance professionals within the insurance industry who are looking to further expand their network and share information and ideas with like-minded individuals. Join now

For an open and confidential chat about new opportunities within Finance, contact Lyam Redmond - Senior Consultant, Finance 0207 398 1558.

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