Posted on 17 Mar 10
The insurance industry suffers from a poor public image, according to several property-casualty insurance executives, and that image problem is crippling its efforts to attract young workers.
The need for new agents is acute, as an increasing number of older agents – the average age of insurance sales practitioners is in the mid-50s – are looking to end their careers. The pipeline of new agents isn’t big enough to support the growing need, according to industry experts.
The answer is to develop a long-term public relations campaign focused on building awareness about the positive aspects of the industry, said Michael LaRocca, president and CEO of Fireman’s Fund, at a recent CEO Panel at the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America’s (the Big “I”) Legislative Conference & Convention in Washington, D.C.
Safeco President Michael Hughes said the industry should focus more of its attention on recruitment at universities.
Liam McGee, chairman and CEO of The Hartford, said he thinks the younger customer’s desire to interact online could mesh well with the independent agent delivery system in place.
“Ironically, the agent could become more valuable,” said McGee. “Consumers will be shopping online more, yet they still want a trusted advisor. Agents shouldn’t see (the online marketplace) as a threat, but an opportunity.”
Highlighting the severity of the situation, CNA’s president and CEO, Tom Motamed, said recruiting new talent into the industry keeps him up at night.