The COVID-19 pandemic has been a significant disrupter of many industries throughout the global economy. Many companies have reduced their workforce size or cut back on their employees’ work hours, making it challenging for workers to get by.
With unemployment and underemployment on the rise, many are turning to the gig economy.
What is the gig economy?
What is a gig? The term “gig” was adopted from the music industry where musicians take on multiple gigs or short-term jobs.
Gig work consists of income-earning activities outside of the traditional, long-term employer-employee relationship. A gig is any temporary job that can range from delivery services to developing apps. And gig workers may be called independent contractors, on-call workers, contingent workers, temporary workers, freelancers, and even consultants.
What is the gig economy? The gig economy is made up of digital platforms that facilitate services between gig workers and individual or business customers. It is projected that gig platforms will continue to grow and extend their reach around the world while offering more diverse services to customers.
As of 2018, approximately one-third of the world’s workers are employed within the gig economy. In 2018, there were 57 million gig workers in the United States. This equates to 36% of all workers. And that number is rising, with the value of total transactions projected to increase from $204 billion to $455 billion in 2023.
Why is the gig economy growing?
The gig economy is growing because of a cultural shift towards embracing a flexible and independent work lifestyle. No longer is the traditional 9-to-5 job the only possibility.
This is particularly true for individuals who sign up to be “Lookers” at WeGoLook®. WeGoLook combines technology with an on-demand workforce to help businesses and individuals gather and validate information anytime, anywhere. The platform essentially deploys job assignments using dispatching technology that matches the job with an individual with the right skills, experience, and certifications.
“From what I’m hearing, there is a rising interest in joining our network because more and more people are wanting to become a part of the gig economy,” shares Meredith Brogan, President of WeGoLook. “People like the WeGoLook model where they can go out on assignments on their own schedule to earn extra money when they need it. Our more than 45,000 Lookers love the flexibility and the fact that they can have full-time jobs and do WeGoLook work in the evenings or on the weekends.”
Now that we are living in a pandemic, people are also entering the gig economy because of economic uncertainty caused by job loss. In January 2021, the unemployment rate was 6.3%, much higher than the pre-pandemic level of 3.5%. With so many people seeking work, the gig economy is very attractive.
How is the gig economy transforming insurance claims services?
It takes patience to process insurance claims. It takes time to gather information and accurate documentation.
With WeGoLook, Lookers can gather information quickly. And using specialized technology, they are able to forward that information and documentation directly to a desk adjuster who can finish processing the claim. WeGoLook’s innovative model allows the company to deliver many services as rapidly as same day and at a fraction of the cost of traditional offerings.
Here’s how it works at one of the nation’s largest auto insurance companies, where WeGoLook is incorporated into the claims-handling process:
- A claim handler places an order on a custom dashboard and chooses a service: (1) vehicle photos, (2) scene inspections, (3) salvage retrieval, (4) police record retrieval.
- A WeGoLook representative calls the on-site contact/policyholder to verify address/item information and schedule an appointment.
- The Looker arrives on-site and captures the data needed for the service/task.
- Data is submitted via the mobile WeGoLook app and reviewed by internal staff at WGL for quality assurance.
- The completed report is sent directly to the claim file.
This level of efficiency helps desk adjusters process more claims at a lower cost than using field adjusters.
The gig economy is the new normal.
The gig economy is gaining steam and is here to stay. We are witnessing the acceleration of a trend that has been slowly growing for some time.
The traditional path of getting an education then finding a job has been disrupted. In fact, now that so many people have had a taste of working from home during the pandemic, most want to keep working from home. IBM released survey results from 2020 that showed 54% of the adults polled would like to be able to primarily work from home.
This desire, coupled with the current unemployment situation, will certainly drive more people into the gig economy. Likewise, more and more individuals and businesses will begin to see the value in hiring gig workers. The gig economy is the new normal for everyone.
 Mastercard. The Global Gig Economy: Capitalizing on a ~$500B Opportunity. 2019.
 U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Employment Situation – January 2021. 2021.
 IBM. IBM Study: COVID-19 is Significantly Altering U.S. Consumer Behavior and Plans Post-Crisis. 2020.