DWF’s head of employment made a frightening prediction at the launch of its ‘future of the industry’ report

In five years time, around 98% of underwriters are at risk of being made redundant.

That is according to law firm DWF’s head of employment, Helga Breen, who made the frightening prediction at the launch of the company’s latest report, ’What’s next for the UK insurance industry?’

Breen said that because of the progression of technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and automation, many processes in the insurance industry would soon be fully automated, reducing the need for a lot of the current workforce. She predicted that underwriters in particular are at the most danger.

This was challenged by Andrew Torrence, non-executive director of Allianz, who said: “I agree that there won’t be many underwriters in the home and motor sectors, because there aren’t that many now. So in five years time, I expect there will be even less.

”But in the commercial sector, there will always be the need for underwriters, so I do not think there will be as much of a danger as is being said here.”

According to the report, which spoke to 200 insurance firms, 14% of people surveyed thought there would be fewer employees in all areas of the business, 16% thought there would be fewer employees, but only in specific areas, and 62% thought there would be more employees in specific areas.

The figure of 98% was not taken from the report, with Breen taking the dramatic estimate from figures in a 2013 Oxford Moore university study by Carl Frei, updated in 2016.