Property and casualty insurers have been looking to adopt ways to split work between office and virtual for employees, transforming the office to be more of a collaborative and socializing space instead of a traditional cubicle-style environment.
As more carriers adapt to this new business model, the industry is actively changing the purpose of the workplace from serving as a heads-down workspace into an ecosystem of a variety of locations and experiences to support flexibility, functionality and employee wellbeing, according to JLL’s head of consulting Sundar Nagarajan. This new change gives employees more choices, greater opportunities for purposeful engagement and better work-life balance.
USAA announced that it will be starting to phase employees back into the office with some form of a hybrid schedule starting in May, with workers expected to be back in the office by July. The carrier reported in February that it was the first insurance carrier to receive a safety rating for 12 of its offices to ensure the facilities were safe.
American Family Insurance announced plans to test a new hybrid work schedule via a volunteer pilot program that gives employees more flexibility over when they report to the office. Under this new plan, about 50 employees have returned to work two days a week in the office. The carrier is also experimenting with seating and office arrangements to find ways to support more collaboration and innovation; by reducing the number of individual workstations and private spaces and creating more team gathering areas, the company plans to incorporate an activity-based model into the office.
Erie Insurance is making tentative plans to bring employees back to the office and expects to return in July. The company successfully shifted 70% of its employees to work-from-home within three days of the pandemic shut-down in March 2020, sending 6,000 employees home nationwide. The carrier plans to make the default work-from-office once the pandemic subsides, but states that it’s subject to change depending on how the pandemic continues to play out.
Nationwide announced in December 2020 that it would be delaying its office reopening plans until June 2021 and will continue to view its return to work plans as flexible. Almost all of Nationwide’s 28,000 employees have been working from home since the pandemic hit. The carrier also closed five of its smaller regional hubs, permanently shifting 30% of employees to work remotely in April 2020.
State Farm announced at the end of 2020 that it plans to shut down 12 regional operation centers and have kept employees at home. The carrier is also looking for ways to deploy a hybrid work environment, according to P&C Specialist. State Farm also announced in March 2021 that it would be exiting the banking and credit card business.
Allstate also plans to develop a hybrid work environment where employees will be divided into full-time office, split or all remote roles, and plan on informing workers of its new strategy by April. The carrier also launched the “Good Office Program” and the “Allstate & You” initiative in November in an effort to support remote employees.
The Hartford brought a small number of employees back to the office in August but said the bulk of its workforce will continue to work from home through late spring-early summer 2021.
CSAA Insurance Group also announced plans to return to the office by July 2021, with some employees working from home permanently.
As insurance companies reevaluate their business models through the pandemic, maintaining flexibility seems to be the key driving factor in how they support both customers and employees into 2021.