With industry talent crisis looming, Erie Insurance launches Google Glass program to improve efficiency

ERIE, Pa. – Experts say retiring baby boomers will leave the insurance industry with 400,000 open positions to fill by 2020. According to the insurance training provider The Institutes, in 2013 the number of employees aged 55 and older was 30% higher in insurance than in any other industry, and 40 percent of the future job pool — high school students — were not interested in pursuing insurance as a career.

With that as the backdrop, Erie Insurance recently became the first in the industry to deploy Google Glass to test potential improvements in workforce efficiency. The wearable technology is one way to reduce travel needs by enabling supervisors to provide remote guidance to field employees through hands-free, live video streaming. It’s being used in Erie’s Commercial Risk Control group, which visits businesses to assess their risks before underwriting. Using the technology during the underwriting process can lead to quicker coverage decisions for customers.

“Our experienced risk control supervisors frequently travel with field employees to provide them with expert advice, training and oversight,” said Jayashree Ishwar, chief underwriting officer, Erie Insurance. “But now, Google Glass wearable technology coupled with ‘you-see-what-I-see’ video streaming software enables supervisors to provide remote, real-time guidance without having to be physically present at the business. This dramatically reduces the amount of time they have to spend on the road, makes them more readily available to provide expert on-call advice and can lead to faster answers for customers.”

Ishwar said along with reducing travel time and expenses and improving productivity, the wearables program also is improving operations by enhancing capabilities for cross-training and knowledge sharing among employees in different geographic locations. And, it will help Erie more quickly train and pass along the institutional knowledge to the anticipated influx of new employees as baby boomers retire.

“We’re always looking for innovative ways to improve every aspect of our business, from the products and services we provide to the way we manage our operations,” said Ishwar. As a company that’s built its reputation on providing highly personalized customer service, Ishwar said, Erie incorporates the latest technology into its processes only when it complements its high-touch strategy.

“This is a case of high tech meets the human touch. Using Glass enables our risk control consultants to provide the in-person service our customers are accustomed to, while also providing expert guidance from a distance. The outcome is a better experience and better result all the way around—for our people and our customers.”

Wearable technology is another in a long line of insurance innovations introduced by Erie. Most recently in 2015, Erie Insurance became the first company to use a drone in the inspection of an insurance claim. In 2014, ERIE was the first insurer to introduce an insurance solution to cover ridesharing drivers.

About Erie Insurance: According to A.M. Best Company, Erie Insurance Group, based in Erie, Pa., is the 10th largest homeowners insurer and 12th largest automobile insurer in the United States based on direct premiums written and the 15th largest property/casualty insurer in the United States based on total lines net premium written. The Group, rated A+ (Superior) by A.M. Best Company, has more than 5 million policies in force and operates in 12 states and the District of Columbia. Erie Insurance Group is a FORTUNE 500 company, a Barron’s 500 company and has been recognized by Forbes as one of America’s 50 Most Trustworthy Financial Companies. For more information visitwww.erieinsurance.com.