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Rebranding Insurance As A Hot Career Choice

Closing the Insurance Talent Gap
By Annie George

Posted on 11 Jul 13 by Annie George

It’s no secret that the insurance industry needs to attract and cultivate talent and fill a pipeline that is increasingly being drained as our workforce ages and recruits dwindle. While we haven’t quite reached the tipping point, as an industry, it’s clear that we need to do more about the challenges we face today and those we will be facing in the future without the right people in the right positions within our organizations.

The numbers tell the story. Within our ranks we have an aging population facing retirement in the next several years. By some estimates, 50% of today’s insurance agents will retire in the next 10 years. The average age of principals with 20% or more ownership in their agencies is 54, and 72% of these principals are older than 60, according to a 2012 Agency Universe Study conducted by the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIAA).

Insurance carriers also face an exodus of experienced talent with the number of insurance workers 55 or older having increased by 74% in the last 10 years, compared to 45% for the overall workforce. According to a 2010 study, “Talent Magnet,” by McKinsey & Company, it’s estimated that 20% of the insurance workforce is near retirement age. By 2018, this number is projected to rise to 25%. What’s more, the situation is further exacerbated in certain segments (reinsurers, brokers and commercial carriers), and in some professional roles, such as underwriters.

One would think that with an economy that has experienced record unemployment rates in recent years and college graduates struggling to find well-paid jobs that it wouldn’t be difficult to attract good talent. But the insurance industry has a bad rep, an image that doesn’t speak to the young as offering a career that is rewarding, challenging and complex. In fact, insurance ranks among the three least-attractive industries for college graduates to enter, ranking 97th out of 100, according to The Wall Street Journal.

And, although this rep is unwarranted, we as a collective industry haven’t done enough to turn this perception on its head and tell a story that invites the young and talented into an industry that offers financial security and success, a positive work-life balance, flexibility, industry specialization, intellectual challenges and the satisfaction of making a difference in protecting a client’s life, business, family and assets.