A fifth of the workforce in the Thai insurance industry will be slashed in the next 5-10 years as insurers shift to digital technology, forecasts Mr Anon Vangvasu, Secretary-General of Thai General Insurance Association.
"Competition in the insurance market is very high, pressuring players to cut operating costs by adopting new technologies to replace human jobs," he said.
The insurance industry has been adopting digital technology in its back office operations for some time, and that has eliminated the need for some jobs dealing with paperwork, reported The Bangkok Post.
Mr Anon said: "In the next 5-10 years, the effects of innovation and new technology on employment in the [insurance] sector will be seen largely in customer service."
He said insurance firms have been issuing policies in electronic form. He said that while the technology has yet to be widely accepted among customers, its use will gradually rise and the number of employees tasked with policy delivery to customers will fall accordingly.
Insurance claims through electronic channels such as mobile applications are also rising rapidly, reducing the need for employees whose work is to process claims for customers. On the other hand, more jobs that require analytical skills will be needed in the future because they cannot be fully replaced by computers or robots, Mr Anon said.
Preparing for the future
Mr Porametee Vimolsiri, Secretary-General of the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB), said disruptive technology has already affected many sectors such as media, banking, tourism, transport, energy and retail.
Although some jobs will disappear, new jobs will be created or demand for other job categories will increase, Mr Porametee said. For example, e-commerce will reduce customer service jobs in brick-and-mortar stores, but it will increase jobs in online services and logistics in order to deliver products to customers.
There have not been any significant changes in the job industry attributed to AI in Thailand so far, but that future is imminent because the country has started implementing the Thailand 4.0 policy to move towards digitisation. The government has been preparing platforms such as broadband Internet, a mobile payment system and a regulatory sandbox so that access and adoption of technology is more inclusive and faster.