Is Canada’s P&C industry facing an IT crisis?

Published: April 30, 2018

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones



IT employee numbers in Canada’s property and casualty (P&C) industry are shrinking and systems are aging as a result. There are not enough workers to maintain systems that are becoming legacy platforms in need of renewal.

One-third of the IT workforce is due to reach retirement within the next decade, per a demographic study still in preparation by the Insurance Institute of Canada. While not complete, some aspects of the study were presented at the CIP Society Symposium in Toronto this week.

Boomers, the generation aged 51-70 account for 28% of the IT positions in the P&C industry, while 43% are in the Generation X aged between 38 and 50. The industry is now left questioning what happens to the IT infrastructure when these workers retires, with legacy systems left behind and new software needed.

“A lot of those older workers…seem to have been around for a long time working on the legacy systems that keep all of your businesses going,” said Michael Burt, director of industrial economic trends at the Conference Board of Canada. “So, obviously that’s going to be a challenge moving forward in terms of transferring knowledge over to new people coming in.”

The Conference Board carried out the research on behalf of the Institute, providing an update to the previous 2007 and 2012 studies. 7,327 employees and 230 P&C executives participated in the research.

When asked to name the most likely disruptors facing the industry, 95% said IT functions will face disruptions over the next five years.

“There’s a challenge [P&C] businesses are going to face in terms of filling those IT roles going forward, particularly in an environment where the demand for IT skills is growing across the board,” Burt said. “Pick your industry, and it’s there. It’s a growing issue, so you are going to have growing competition for people with these skills in the year to come.”