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How people shape IT transformations in the German insurance industry

Imagine an insurance company decides to modernise its entire IT landscape. The technology is ready, the plans are drawn up, and yet the project encounters unexpected obstacles. The reason? No, not the poor preparation phase this time. The human factor. In this blog post, I look at the human aspects of IT transformations in the German insurance industry and show why they often mean the difference between success and failure.

Insurance companies in Germany employ people from a variety of disciplines and with different skills. This diversity includes insurance salespeople, IT specialists, legal advisors and many other professional groups. There are also employees from different age groups, each with different perspectives and experience. Some are very technologically minded, while others have a deep understanding of the traditional aspects of the industry. It is important for companies to recognise and leverage this diversity in order to foster an inclusive culture that supports innovation and provides development opportunities for all employees.

People at the centre of change

IT transformations in the insurance industry are not just about technical challenges. Rather, it is the people behind the technology that determine success. You should realise that:

  • Resistance to change,
  • fear of the unknown and
  • lack of communication

are common stumbling blocks.

Resistance to change and fear of the unknown are deeply rooted in the human psyche. These reactions have both psychological and biological causes and are part of our natural survival strategy. In the world of work, these fears often manifest themselves in the form of scepticism or rejection of new processes, technologies or structures. In my experience, the top three reasons for this resistance are

  • Fear of loss: employees may fear losing their job or losing status and influence.
  • Uncertainty: Change leads to uncertainty about the future, which can cause anxiety and stress.
  • Habit: Change disrupts established routines and requires adaptation and learning.

Overcoming resistance

One of the biggest challenges is the natural resistance to change. Effective change management and continuous communication are essential to address concerns and take employees on the journey of transformation. Personally, I have tried many things, from visualisation to "fake it 'till you make it", but the most effective approaches for me have been

  • Providing information and transparency: clear and comprehensive information about upcoming changes reduces fear.
  • Participation and involvement: Involving employees in the change process strengthens the feeling of control and reduces anxiety.
  • Small steps: Dividing major changes into smaller, manageable steps reduces the feeling of being overwhelmed.

The role of managers

Managers play a decisive role in shaping the future. They must communicate a clear vision and act as role models for new ways of working. Their task is to promote a culture of openness and learning, which is essential for the success of IT transformations. In the insurance industry, the focus is often on digital transformation, sustainability, digital innovation and the introduction of agile working methods. Through their vision and commitment, leaders emphasise the importance of innovation and technological development for the long-term success of their companies.

Developing skills for the future

Digitalisation is fundamentally changing the demands placed on employees in the insurance industry. Lifelong learning and the continuous development of digital skills are essential. Investing in further training and qualifications not only shows appreciation for employees, but also secures the future viability of the company. The dual training system in Germany combines theoretical training with practical experience and is constantly updated to integrate new technologies and future skills.

Creating a culture of change

Ultimately, IT transformations require an adaptation of the corporate culture. A culture that embraces innovation, encourages experimentation and learns from mistakes is the key to success. My suggestion and even appeal to organisations to make this transition successful is to follow these strategies:

  • Leaders as role models: Change starts at the top with openness and flexibility.
  • Communication and transparency: Open communication about the need for change reduces uncertainty.
  • Promote a participative culture: Involving employees in the change process increases commitment.
  • Training and further education: Investing in training prepares employees for new requirements.
  • Introduce agile working methods and mindset: Methods such as Scrum or Kanban promote flexibility and continuous improvement.
  • Celebrate successes and learn from mistakes: Recognising successes and learning from mistakes boosts motivation.
  • Create a vision for the future: A clear and inspiring vision helps to understand the meaning behind change.
  • Create supportive structures: The organisational structure should support change.

To summarise, the human factor in IT transformations in the insurance industry in Germany should not be underestimated. It is the people who drive, implement and ultimately live these changes. A successful transformation therefore requires more than just technological innovations; it requires a change in mindsets, skills and corporate cultures. The future belongs to those who recognise this human aspect and place it at the centre of their transformation strategy.

Would you like to find out more about exciting topics from the world of adesso? Then take a look at our previous blog posts.

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Picture Arabela Stanescu

Author Arabela Stanescu

Arabela Stanescu has been working as an IT consultant for the insurance industry for several years. She specialises in supporting IT transformation projects, with a particular focus on management and digital education. She is also a lecturer for authentic leadership competences in the insurance industry.

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