(Image credit: Dollar Photo Club.)
Insurance industry observers have long warned about dwindling numbers of insurance professionals and the difficulty of attracting new blood. The problem has worsened with time, and a consortium of insurance carriers, trade associations and industry partners has formed an initiative to address the problem through the declaration of February 2016 as an inaugural Insurance Careers Month, and by calling on colleagues to pitch insurance as a worthwhile, gainful and innovative career path to millennials.
The group—which includes Hamilton Insurance Group; MyPath, powered by the Institutes; Valen Analytics; The Jacobson Group; InVEST; and PCI—has declared February 2016 and has invited other entities to join in educational and recruitment initiatives.
In support of the initiative three industry CEOs have published an open letter to “industry colleagues and partners” urging their involvement. The signatories are Brian Duperreault of Hamilton Insurance Group, Inga Beale of Lloyds, and Dan Glaser, president and CEO of Marsh & McLennan.
The letter addresses the magnitude of the talent deficit by quoting Department of Labor statistics that 400,000 thousand insurance industry positions are projected to be unfilled by 2020, and that 45 percent of insurance industry management will retire in three years.
The letter contrasts the importance of the insurance industry with the low level of interest expressed by young professionals. Without insurance, the text reads, there is no investment, there is no innovation, and there is no growth.
“Our industry is a critical juncture, with new risks fueled by rapidly evolving technology,” comments Hamilton Insurance’s Duperreault, in a statement released by the consortium. “It’s an exciting time to work in companies that help keep individuals, families, communities and governments safe. If a young person wants a purpose-driven career, he or she will find it in insurance.”
And yet, few such purpose-driven young professionals believe that. Despite the industry’s dire need, fewer than 5 percent of millennials express interest in working in the insurance industry, according to the consortium. As a result, insurers face a worsening “war for talent,” says Greg Jacobson, co-CEO, The Jacobson Group. “The focus needs to shift toward recruiting and engaging the next generation of talent and bringing millennials into insurance,” he adds.
Industry of Choice
Carriers need to rebrand insurance as “the industry of choice for young professionals,” Jacobson suggests. The CEO letter signatories make a similar appeal, asking carriers, brokers and industry partners to join in spreading the word that, “Insurance is the career trifecta: it’s stable, it’s rewarding, and it’s limitless.”
Conventional public wisdom might only give that statement a one-out-of three rating—or two if they were thinking about a never-ending stream of monthly premium payments. However, June Holmes, COO and treasurer, PCI, insists that the industry has a case to make. “Insurers are innovating by developing new solutions to meet the demands of cyber security, green technology, the sharing economy and other emerging trends,” she relates. “To attract millennials into our industry, we need to better tell our story and connect on issues more important to this generation.”
Holmes may have understated the case, if one thinks about how relevant many of the technologies driving broader trends are to the insurance industry, suggests Dax Craig, CEO, Valen Analytics. “Insurance is at the precipice of massive innovation and disruption, which provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for next-generation talent who want to make a difference,” he says. “Valen is passionate about engaging the brightest minds to help build the insurance industry of the future. Insurance Careers Month will create a collaborative forum to promote all the exciting, innovative careers insurance has to offer.”