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The future of work: can insurance protect jobs in this era of automation?

18 February 2020

 

The effects of automation on work creep into the public debate whenever a new technology extends into a large range of sectors. Mechanisation, electricity and IT have overturned and reinvented work and social organization. Will artificial intelligence be the new “general use technology” that offers as many new skills as hitherto unknown needs for protection?

One hundred and twenty million people – that’s nearly twice the population of France. It’s also the number of people who, to keep a job, will have to change profession or be trained again in the next three years, according to a recent report by IBM’s Institute for Business Value, analysing the future of work in the world’s 12 most advanced economies.

 

This clearly promises to produce a wave of retraining. According to the authors, artificial intelligence will make a profound change in the nature and allocation of a great many jobs. It will scarcely come as a surprise that the jobs that can be the most automated usually revolve around a routine physical activity, carried out in a controlled and predictable environment, or involving gathering and processing data.

The IBM report is far from the first to announce that our society will be overturned by growing employment automation. Projections are often questioned and very approximate (some announce 10% of automation, others 50%), but they are all heading in the same direction. One of the estimations of McKinsey, whose Global Institute considered in November 2017, in one of its AI technologies adoption scenarios, that 375 million workers worldwide would have to “change jobs to avoid obsolescence” by 2030. One year later, the same McKinsey considered, basing its finds on the past, that the retraining imposed by automation could compensate for the removal of “obsolete” jobs… and even create more. In the United States, the widespread growth of information technology, between 1980 and 2015, created over 19 million jobs, against 3.5 million that disappeared. Will AI, once again, show that the economist Joseph Schumpeter, was right. In the 1930s, Schumpeter emphasized the paradoxical nature of innovation, this “creative force of destruction”, which makes former practices disappear and brings in new ones? And if this is the case, should we be hastening the trend?

 

Automation is not automatic

Not so fast! The interest of the massive spreading of intelligent automation is not… automatic. The technical feasibility is, of course, a prerequisite. But entrusting all or part of a job to AI presupposes that the investment in development and deployment be compensated for by gains in productivity or quality.

Above all, this means bring able to see well into the future. But at the very least, transferring an activity from a human being to a machine has every chance of changing the way work is organized, training new recruits, and managing expertise within a company. Matt Beane, an associate researcher with MIT’s Institute for Digital Economy, has shown that automating jobs that do not require much qualification – often a first job – can ruin young workers’ opportunities to learn, make contacts and be trained. This, he believes, is also true of certain highly qualified jobs, such as the young surgeon who couldn’t practice if a robot operated in her stead.

If we accept that AI is useful, effective, and free of any undesirable risk in the sector in which it is introduced, should we welcome it? It would seem that wage earners are prepared. Oracle and Future Workplace have conducted a survey of 8,000 managers and employees in ten countries. The results, published in October 2019, show that 53% of the people interviewed claim to be optimistic about the possibility of having a robot for a colleague; 64% of them would trust AI more than their manager. But these overtures to AI are not made blindly. Among the respondents, nearly three-quarters (71%) recognise that security challenges make them hesitate about envisaging a working world shared between AI and human beings.

 

New skills

If AI finds favour with wage earners, could it really transform work for the better? It’s possible, say the economists, but, not without accompanying developments in technology. Most of the forward-looking exercises conducted in developed countries agree to advocate a solid unemployment insurance system coordinated with a “reinvented” training offer giving everyone the possibility, at every stage of their working life, to rely on technologies, so that they never stop learning and developing their skills. This is where “flexisecurity” comes in, a balance between protection and aptitude to change, in which the Scandinavian countries are such masters. “It is urgent to invest and innovate to give workers new skills. Indeed it is an indispensable answer to the challenges that the work market must take up, faced as it is with successive waves of automation”, the experts of the MIT task force argue in their latest report.

 

In practice, a growing number of companies use “re-skilling” or “up-skilling” programmes to adapt their employees’ skills to their positions, as with the “Skill’Up” program run by BNP Paribas Cardif and its training partner General Assembly, with already more than 600 employees trained and “acculturated” mainly in Europe, but also in Asia and some in Latin America. The average NPS (Net Promotor Score) measured for these 600 employees is more than +60.

 

We could also mention the emblematic case of Amazon, which in July 2019, announced that it was investing $700 million in training one-third of its employees (around 100,000 people). At the heart of this training programme are: data science, creating solutions and safety engineering. Will this suffice to offer these tens of thousand workers an “anti-disruption” insurance? “The picture of the quantitative effects of automation combined with AI is full of contrasts,” warns socialist Yann Ferguson in a recent article. He mentions that for the French Parliamentary Office for the Evaluation of Scientific and Technological choices, “personal convictions win out when it comes to an overall appreciation of the future effect of AI on the work market”, convictions that the sociologist believes are “organized around the old division between the ‘techno-optimists’ and the techno-pessimists’.” And the ways in which work will be protected against the risks AI brings with it remain to be specified. How can one qualify the responsibility, when a patient reacts badly to a treatment administered by a doctor following the advice of a virtual “assistant”? Who should be blamed when an automated recruitment system prefers certain profiles: the authors of the programme, the company that uses it, or the data scientists who selected the data? Legal experts have asked these questions, but it is still too early to see a framework of stable, shared answers emerging.

Beyond the new responsibilities of company workers, what about their well-being and security? As AI takes over matching profiles and jobs at an ever faster pace, will the ”gig economy” overheat, as is so cleverly portrayed in the audio series “Dreamstation”? Should we plan “anti-burn-out” insurance for employees, who would be entitled to compensation beyond a threshold of jobs accumulated within a year? Will wage earners and self-employed people need to protect their reputations, their voices and even their features, to maintain control over the traces they leave online, tracked by recruiters’ AI?

Meanwhile, will recruiters need insurance products that protect them from the risks of profiles being usurped and other false documents? The fact that certain universities already offer to register their qualifications in a blockchain could be a clue.

 

Algorithms on the look-out for the right candidate 

A future in which platform models gain pace, automating the relations between companies and workers, is not certain. A future in which humans and machines work together, with human intelligence relying on the power of algorithms, and humans’ decisions influenced by the behaviour of machines, already exists. And there is already proof that the use of AI can be extremely problematical: racial discrimination (in legal proceedings in the United States, notably), the endangering of vulnerable people (the death of a cyclist hit by a driverless car in California), widespread surveillance (facial recognition in public places).

The upheaval that AI could bring with it, positive and negative, exceeds the stakes of insurance. Frameworks to be adapted or invented affect the organization of society and its ethical choices. They are at the heart of a wide raft of research, which aims to establish the principles of auditable and explicable AI design. 

Is there an emergency? Despite the feverishness that can be triggered by the regular announcements of new AI performances and the intensity of investments in the sector, this is not sure. As the economist Philippe Askenazy and the IT specialist in machine learning Francis Bach claim in a recent article in the review “Pouvoirs”, the fears of the drastic impact of automation on employment were the same in the United States during the Cold War. “Reading the report by the Commission on Technology, Automation and Economic Progress to President Lyndon Johnson in 1966 is disturbing. [...] The authors, including the CEO of IBM, James Watson, and the future Nobel prizewinner for Economics, Robert Solow, were concerned by a world in which, at least temporarily, the amount of jobs destroyed by technology could not be compensated for by job creations. Disturbing? “Anticipating the impacts on work and jobs is highly speculative as there is so much uncertainty over the evolution of technology itself, its social or industrial use and the indirect mechanisms, which accompany each irruption of technology,” say the two authors usefully. But being humble in the face of the future does not forbid us from anticipating, on the contrary. “It is difficult to foresee the type of world we will be living in in five, ten or twenty years time – technologically, politically, economically or in any other way”, said Dick Kepthorne the Chairman of the World Federation of Insurance Companies at the organization’s ninth conference (GIFA) in 2017.  [But] just as the insurance profession is ready and waiting to react to any disruption in the life of the insured, we too are prepared to react to the disruptions in our sector [notably via] the Disruptive Technology Working Group, [whose] objective is to discuss with the authorities and regulators the impact of the innovations and disruptions in the insurance sector on public policies.”

 

The new risks of AI

AI technologies bring new – and numerous –risks with them. The report entitled “The Malicious Use of AI”, published by a consortium of researchers (notably from Oxford University, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Open AI platform), lists some 20 scenarios of AI distortions, ranging from the automatic targeting of scam victims (phishing, email spoofing…) to taking control of driverless cars, or the influence on elections of the massive distribution of “deepfakes”, videos that superimpose someone’s image onto another’s without it being necessary to film them – opening the way to all sorts of manipulations.

These risks are new, as they introduce information technologies that have new capacities, which multiply the power of influence of data over reality. Of course, companies are gradually weighing up the odds. Managing cyber risks is evolving, gradually taking on board the complexity of AI technologies in organizing prevention, detection and responses to the threats. To counter the attacks and incidents that AI makes possible, risk managers can already count on insurance offers dedicated to data protection, crisis management systems, etc. Adapting risk management to the new world heralded by AI will even go so far as to seek out the best way of avoiding the risks of commercial offences (agreements, cartels, etc.) that over-enthusiastic AI could produce unbeknown to the owner.

 

 

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Tangata, inclusive innovation!

11 February 2020

 

At BNP Paribas Cardif, innovation is (also) working for inclusion. It was therefore natural for us to support the Tangata initiative, a solidarity initiative created by Emmanuelle Fenard, Head of "maison entrepreneurs &Co" at BNP Paribas, former Head of Marketing at BNP Paribas Cardif France.

“Making insurance accessible to the largest possible number of people”, our company is committed to having a positive impact on society with this ambitious mission. An inclusive policy has therefore been implemented for vulnerable members of society, notably the 20 million people affected by disability in France. Our initiative is not limited to advancing the employment and professional integration of these women and men. It goes far beyond that, as evidenced by our “Act For Impact” social entrepreneur label, our partnership with the Handi Tech Trophy, which rewards the inventors of inclusive technologies, and the work we do with the association e-Nable for supporting families of children affected by agenesis*.

 

Leisure for all

To move further towards more inclusion, we also rely on the capacity for innovation of our employees, by encouraging and supporting their initiatives through an intrapreneurship program. This is how the Tangata project was born. The ambition of Emmanuelle Fenard, who designed it, was to accelerate the development of leisure activities accessible to all types of disabilities. Her solution? Creating a site to connect all the people concerned, their caregivers, and all the actors who respond to their needs: associations, companies, start-ups, etc. Tangata acts as a visibility lever for these organisations. The platform helps them deploy their offerings by increasing their awareness and giving them access to a network of partners, while guaranteeing the quality of services through the “Act for Impact” label. And, as it has been designed for them and is easy to use, the site allows people with disabilities to come out of their isolation and organise their leisure activities quickly and easily. Let’s take an example In just a few clicks, users can locate an activity, check its accessibility with respect to their needs, and consult the opinions of the Tangata community!

*born with one or more limb abnormalities.

 

 “I’ve been involved personally for a long time in initiatives relating to the social and solidarity sector. I’m proud to take it further today with my Tangata project.”

Emmanuelle Fenard, head of "maison entrepreneurs &Co" at BNP Paribas.

 


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Offer Catalogue

Discover BNP Paribas Cardif core offer in our interactive catalogue.

Access to online version, click here.

Please find here the Spanish, Italian and French versions.

For offline versions, click here from your iPad or Android tablet.

 

 

 


Chief Actuary, Chief Financial Officer, Deputy Chief Executive Officer

 

Education :

Vincent Sussfeld is a graduate of the EM Lyon Business School (1995), the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris (1997) and the Ecole Nationale d'Administration (2001 - Mandela graduating cohort).


 

Career: 

He began his career at Allianz France in 2001 as head of CSR, subsequently leading the insurer's transformation and innovation project as part of the property and casualty insurance claims department.

He joined BNP Paribas Cardif in 2007 as head of public affairs. He then became deputy CEO of the SBI Life joint venture in India (2009) and subsequently sales director for international markets (2012). He has been deputy head of Asia alongside Xavier Guilmineau since the beginning of 2015.

He was Head of Asia from July 2015 to January 2019.


 

Today:

Vincent Sussfeld is Chief Actuary, Chief Financial Officer, Deputy Chief Executive Officer. He has been a member of the Executive Committee of BNP Paribas Cardif since July 2015.

 

Chief Risk Officer

 

Education :

Murielle Puron Chambord is a graduate of the Ecole Supérieure de Commerce de Reims business school (NEOMA Business School).

Career:

Having gained Audit experience at Deloitte, she joined the Crédit Lyonnais Group where, over the next 10 years, she occupied a series of accounting and financial posts with the bank and the 'bad bank' structure known as the Consortium de Réalisation.

Murielle Puron Chambord joined the BNP Paribas Group in 2001 as head of the in-house accounting firm for Group subsidiaries BNP Paribas Expertise EIG, and was then appointed Head of Financial Reporting and Consolidation at BNP Paribas Group in 2003.

In 2006, she joined BNP Paribas Cardif as Chief Accountant, moving on to Deputy Chief Financial Officer in 2011 and General Secretary for Corporate Functions in 2013.

Today:

Murielle Puron Chambord is Chief Risk Officer2. In January 2016, she was appointed as a member of the company's Executive Committee.

 

Inclusive management, a new priority for businesses

30 January 2020

 

What if diversity is the key to future top performance? A growing number of businesses are convinced of this and are taking action to promote a management policy that includes their employees. The challenge is not only to respect individual differences, but to make these differences a core part of transformation and turn them into a collective asset, a source of innovation and progress. Let’s decipher this promising trend.

 

When the main French employers' trade-union (MEDEF) released its barometer describing how the nation perceived equal opportunity in 2018, the rate of employees expressing fears of discrimination in the workplace fell below 50% for the very first time. "This is the result of initiatives undertaken for several years by an increasing number of businesses which have made inclusion one of their human resources management priorities. The challenge is to guarantee their employees equal treatment based on their skills and performance, regardless of differences involving origin, gender, age, civil status, political or religious beliefs, sexual orientation, place of residence, state of health, physical appearance, etc." explains Laurent Depond, former Chief Diversity Officer at Orange, who advises a large number of organisations on workplace inclusion issues.

 

Liberté, égalité, diversity

The phenomenon was sparked a few decades ago by American multinationals in response to growing legal and regulatory measures against all forms of discrimination. It then spread to Europe where it was adapted to local cultures. "There is a specifically French vision of the concept, which focuses very sharply on creating the conditions for equal opportunity, whereas the UK model is based more on the freedom to express singularity" says Laurent Depond. But it’s no longer a mere question of businesses complying with administrative constraints to avoid legal, financial and image risks. "They’ve understood that diversity is a performance factor and a lever for transformation" sums up Laurent Depond. A factor with measurable effectiveness: Sodexo, which is highly active in promoting diversity, conducted an in-house survey of its managerial teams across more than 80 countries. The results showed that teams with a gender mix of between 40 and 60% achieved better business results than others.

 

Inclusion as a source of creativity

In an era of permanent change, adapting and developing involves attracting a wide range of employee profiles with varied experiences and cultures and making them work efficiently as a team so that involvement and creativity is stimulated when diverse points of view are confronted. On the other hand, an overly standardised environment stifles individual talents... when it doesn’t scare them away. "An employee who feels excluded from the work group will tend to withdraw further, resulting in a loss of information, performance and motivation, or even a desire to eventually leave the company. For instance, it’s no coincidence that in France, according to a study  by  l'Autre Cercle and Défenseur des Droits (independent administrative organisations) , homosexuals change employers twice as often as heterosexuals” , points out Laurent Depond. It is therefore no surprise to see businesses committing to inclusion.

 

More or less committed companies

 In France, nearly 3,900 organisations have made this commitment a reality by signing the diversity charter. Initiated in 2004, this charter helps organisations implement hands-on action and move forward through innovative practices, encouraging them, for instance, to adopt a reference text laying down the main lines of their diversity policy and measuring/monitoring tools. There are, however, several degrees of maturity in the processes undertaken.  "Sometimes they're just cosmetic, with little or no concrete action taken.  In other cases, businesses tackle various sources of discrimination, such as disability, while ignoring others like sexual orientation or religion.  Some of them adopt a compassionate posture. The most advanced among them promote transformational diversity: inclusion is then made an integral part of their strategy and supported by their managers, including at the highest level " explains Laurent Depond.. What about BNP Paribas Cardif?  "It’s among the top of the class, even though it operates in the bancassurance sector, which is traditionally reluctant to value difference.

 

BNP Paribas Cardif aims to set an example

"Our company has achieved dual "Diversity and Professional Equality" certification by AFNOR” confirms Catherine Jacquemin, Responsable Diversité et Inclusion BNP Paribas Cardif. These labels commit us to step up our efforts towards equal opportunity and fairness. They're not granted for life. Our best practices are challenged every two years! The diversity policy, launched more than 10 years ago, is both long-term and highly active:  "We also reap the benefits of our CEO Renaud Dumora’s personal involvement, as he believes deeply in the virtues of diversity and intends to make our company a world reference in this area ", adds Catherine Jacquemin. To achieve its goal, BNP Paribas Cardif is raising awareness and training its managers with a threefold objective: to make them fully aware of the importance of diversity and inclusion, broaden their knowledge, and encourage all concerned to adopt the right managerial stance.

 

“Diversity Managers” conferences

For the past two years, a series of "Diversity Managers" conferences has brought together BNP Paribas Cardif managers with internal and external experts to discuss sexist behaviour, sexual orientation, disability, religion, stereotypes and, in the near future, intergenerational collaboration. "Each conference is held during working hours (and not at lunchtime or after 6 p.m.) and attracts an average of 200 managers. They are "sponsored" by a member of the executive committee, and Renaud Dumora is always in attendance from start to finish," explains Catherine.

 

Training modules dedicated to diversity

To back up the conferences, BNP Paribas Cardif has added a diversity module to the training syllabus for its local managers.  "It empowers them to discuss stereotypes, company agreements relating to diversity and appropriate behaviour for an entire morning, and always ends in a lunch dedicated to disability," emphasises Catherine Jacquemin.  A second one-hour module has just been developed for senior executives and their management committees.

 

New approaches and new tools

Building on what’s already been achieved doesn’t only mean anchoring good practices in the corporate culture and adapting them to changes in the laws against discrimination at work. It also means fighting human nature, since we tend to homogenise our environment and thus avoid diversity for fear of others, difference, and the unknown. "We need to try and limit these natural biases in the decision-making process, for instance during recruitment, by setting objective selection criteria and taking collegial decisions, etc. We can also help managers by using new approaches that are based on neurosciences and cognitive sciences," concludes Laurent Depond.

The law on equality and citizenship dated 27 January 2017 obliges all companies with more than 300 employees to train their managers every 5 years in recruitment without discrimination.

Surveys show that 90% to 100% of attendees at BNP Paribas Cardif's "Diversity Managers Conferences" are satisfied.

79% of BNP Paribas Cardif employees believe that their company's management promotes diversity (source: GPS 2019).

 

That’s it!

"If we want to set an example in our market, we have to tackle all forms of discrimination without exception and give our managers the knowledge and attitudes that make them feel better equipped to work for diversity." Sophie Joyat, Head of Human Resources at BNP Paribas Cardif


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