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Digital Transformation in Insurance: An Analysis of the Principal Engineer Talent Ecosystem

Insurance April 21, 2021
Digital Transformation in Insurance: An Analysis of the Principal Engineer Talent Ecosystem
Thomas C

Content Developer


As one of the highest data consumers, the insurance sector has always been a pioneer in adapting to the digital transformation era.

While most industries were still in the first version of digital transformation by making the move to cloud, the Insurance industry was already integrating cloud-based AI solutions into their workflow.

Machine learning and NLP have been helping Insurance providers reduce costs, save time and see numerous other benefits when it comes to:

  • Faster claims settlements
  • Improved risk scoring
  • Automatic fraud detection
  • Intelligent cross-selling

And others.

These technological advancements have naturally led to the emergence of complex workloads that require job roles, expertise, and experience across broader areas.

This digital transformation acceleration has increased the level of technical responsibility and acumen required for workflows across industries, leading to the evolution of senior-level job roles like Principal Engineer.

Why Principal Engineer Talent Is Crucial To The Insurance Industry

Principal Engineers are recognized as engineering authorities having extensive practical experience gained from working as an Engineer and typically answer directly to the senior management of their company.

The global demand for Principal Engineer job role increased by almost 30% in 2020 as compared to 2019.

This is not surprising because they are key to building complex distribution systems, driving system architecture, and strategizing engineering methodologies.

Principal Engineer – Skills Analysis

Draup’s analysts have performed comprehensive data mining on job descriptions and identified the below broad skillsets for Principal Engineers:

  • Technical skills, including large-scale systems engineering, building complex distributed systems, system architecture, database handling, and software development.
  • Functional skills, including business analysis, pricing strategy, competitive analysis, enterprise resource planning, team management.
  • Agile management, including SCRUM, RUP, Extreme Programming (XP), and product life cycle management.

However, owing to the multitude of workflows and differing organization archetypes, these vary considerably among enterprises. In some cases, the experience level required to qualify as a Principle Engineer itself varies, as can be seen among mid-level insurance companies and several insurtech startups.

Typical job career paths for Principal Engineers across verticals

Principal Engineer Role Analysis in the Insurance Industry

We have analyzed the profile of Principal Software Engineers in the Insurance industry to understand their job responsibilities better. The analysis was done across a mix of mid-level insurance companies, InsurTech startups, and large established companies.

At a high level, their typical responsibilities include:

  • Creating technical roadmaps, standards, tooling & frameworks required for a high quality, rich application suite
  • Effectively leading software engineers and collaborating with solution architects in the design of modern software solutions
  • Analyze, design, code, test, debug, maintain, and document software components in accordance with the software architecture and software development processes while keeping in mind the unique data-sensitive nature of insurance applications
  • Deliver Technical Examples, Proof of Concepts, and Templates for Teams to adopt, and generally streamlining projects.

As far as technical proficiency goes, talent in key technologies such as Java/JavaScript, AWS, CI/CD, and Python are trending, while knowledge of MuleSoft, Guidewire, Git, Spring, SQL, REST & Docker is seen as a bonus skill to have.

Unsurprisingly, the microservices architecture has found great favor among InsurTech startups, and Principal Engineers are leading the charge here to implement this across solutions.

Future Scope for Principal Engineers in Insurance

As AI use cases pick up pace in the Insurance industry, the need for Principal Engineers will only increase from now on.

For example, consider the typical use case of appeals processing. Using a combination of AI and automation, WorkFusion automated 89% of appeals with an astounding accuracy rate of 99%.

Some providers depend on AI & predictive analytics to fight the scourge of claims fraud, while others are training custom bots to act as conversational agents to boost customer engagement rates.

All the above-mentioned applications are human resource and infrastructure-heavy. Training an ML model involved orchestrating multiple asynchronous processes across compute, storage & network resources.

Combined with the cost of cloud infrastructure, it is imperative for Insurance enterprises, especially startups, to hire the right Principal Engineering talent for their requirements.

Draup for Talent features data from over 8000 sources for 33 industries and analyzed across 10 million+ data points. We have meticulously tracked the career paths of Principal Engineers in the Insurance industry to analyze this vital cog in the InsurTech/Insurance talent pipeline.

Draup’s extensive AI-powered features enable workforce planners to find & upskill/reskill talent to meet the growing demand for Principal Engineers in the Insurance industry.

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