How to Reach the Next Generation of Insurance Talent

April 7, 2014
college

  • April 7, 2014 at 10:40 am
    Herb Fudpucker says:
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    “Gray”? Yes – gray. And Companies are shedding employees by various means – no salary increases, reduced duties, outright exclusion at meetings – all while doing well and making money during a non-CAT one or two years. As you approach 65 – 66 – - beware of that “tap on the shoulder”. I have never seen such outright hypocrisy as I have seen in the Insurance Industry. They all talk a good game – but in practice – the employee comes last.

    • April 9, 2014 at 6:02 pm
      And.... says:
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      Is your description any different for other industries?

      • April 10, 2014 at 7:23 am
        Kevo says:
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        Unfortunately, no.

  • April 7, 2014 at 9:31 pm
    Gennie K. says:
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    I started working in the insurance industry at age 22, and it’s been 14 years and i’m still here and loving it! I’ve been able to build my career and I am making a six digit salary. I do agree that insurance is looked at as being ‘unsexy’ and needs a makeover to attract young talent.

  • April 8, 2014 at 12:01 pm
    Dorian Grey says:
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    Experienced workers at advanced ages will be replaced when they retire. But fewer replacements will be needed when technology yields increased efficiency. Until then, I see no need to fret over replacing an aging workforce when far too many graduates from colleges today are entering the workforce without basic math and writing skills. So, the focus of the insurance industry should be in finding the right workers. And the focus of our leaders should be on fixing the major problems with schools that are not accountable for their jobs as teachers.

    • April 11, 2014 at 5:05 pm
      Efficient, yes, but... says:
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      It seems to me that the younger workers don’t have the “feel” for underwriting anymore. They rely too much on technology.

  • April 8, 2014 at 1:37 pm
    Libby says:
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    Good for you, Gennie! Insurance has been a very good career path for lots of people. We need to do a better job spreading the word!

  • April 8, 2014 at 1:43 pm
    Cindy says:
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    The younger generation will not survive in this industry UNLESS companies change how they treat their employees. Gone are the days that upper management looks to experienced employees for new projects, fixes, etc…it’s all “the new blood”. Existing employees have great ideas and hold tons of knowledge due to their tenure….but it isn’t respected anymore. What I have been seeing is young kids may come to work here, but they don’t stay. They learn a few office skills and then they are off to bigger and better things. More money in other industries, and that’s what they are looking for.

  • April 8, 2014 at 4:36 pm
    Some Guy says:
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    Herb makes an excellent point. Many of the larger brokers have “early career” paths and have replaced their seasoned, knowledgeable personnel with cheap labor that barely knows how to spell the word insurance.

    [course...let's not call it what it is - age discrimination]

    • April 8, 2014 at 4:40 pm
      Libby says:
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      Penny-wise and pound-foolish. They can’t hope to keep their accounts with uneducated, inexperienced brokers/agents working on them.

      Please! Tell me what agencies are doing this. I want to go after their business!

  • April 9, 2014 at 11:13 am
    ralph says:
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    question to the industry vets out there: Ever thought about getting into a different industry, or know someone who left our world and started anew? If so, what would you do, or what did they do?

    Just curious. I’ve been an underwriter on the company side for 15 years and insurance is all I know (and do genuinely enjoy it), but I understand there are actually different professions out there?

    • April 9, 2014 at 1:22 pm
      Libby says:
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      Everyone I know that tried to get out ended up coming back. Some went into other types of sales (real estate or cars). Others tried opening their own business (coffee cafe or restaurant). Others went back to school. But they all either ended up retiring or coming back to insurance. It has a way of sucking you in for life.

      • April 10, 2014 at 8:28 am
        KY jw says:
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        Oh. Crap. You’re right. Everyone I know who left insurance, came back. I hadn’t thought about it. Shoot, I left and came back as well. Huh. It sucks you in and then sucks the life right out of you.

        ;) just kidding!

    • April 11, 2014 at 12:20 pm
      Don't Call Me Shirley says:
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      Ralph, you might look into getting the CFP (Certified Financial Planner) designation. I wouldn’t quit the day job, but it can serve as apossibility to fall back on. The reason I mention this is that your insurance/underwriting background would be helpful in this pursuit.

  • April 9, 2014 at 1:26 pm
    Celtica says:
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    And not everyone in insurance is an older middle aged white guy with gray hair — or belongs to the GOP or Tea Party. No matter how many of them respond in the insurance forum.

    • April 9, 2014 at 1:56 pm
      ralph says:
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      true, and not every one under 30 is a member of OWS or a rabid Obama supporter, no matter how many of them respond in the insurance forum.

      I was hoping to avoid a political discussion, honestly. It’s possible on this board, isn’t it?

      PS–Thanks, Libby! I’m finding the same thing.

      • April 9, 2014 at 2:20 pm
        Libby says:
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        Are there any under 30 responding on this forum? I think that’s the whole point of the article. I’ve been saying it for years. We do not do a good job of growing our own in this business. The industry has great job growth potential and the pay is decent. It’s just not as “sexy” or “hip” as other industries. We need to change that perception.

        • April 9, 2014 at 6:04 pm
          I'm not so sure, Libby says:
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          Prancing around in a Speedo with a declarations page in one hand and an application in the other kinda creeps me out!!

          • April 10, 2014 at 8:25 am
            KY jw says:
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            Aaakkk! Now I have to bleach my brain. Thanks for that image.

          • April 10, 2014 at 8:50 am
            Libby says:
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            I’m not sure prancing around in a Speedo is my idea of sexy!!! LOL!

          • April 11, 2014 at 12:22 pm
            Don't Call Me Shirley says:
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            I feel that I’ve been emotionally scarred by that image. You’ll be hearing from my lawyer.

        • April 10, 2014 at 11:38 am
          LiveFree says:
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          I am 26 and I respond on this forum sporadically :)

          • April 10, 2014 at 12:04 pm
            Libby says:
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            You’re very bright for 26! I enjoy your comments and viewpoints.

          • April 10, 2014 at 1:02 pm
            LiveFree says:
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            Thank you kindly.

  • April 10, 2014 at 7:22 am
    Kevo says:
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    In claims, it’s primarily about money. Executives look to stay top heavy with management in a claims organization while the front line of appraisers is depleted first. It takes time to train a field appraiser to be proficient and accurate, and our college youth are afraid of hands on hard work. You simply cannot replace a 10 year tenured field rep with 2 college recruits and expect accuracy – you will actually lose the same.

    • April 10, 2014 at 8:52 am
      Libby says:
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      The problem with the younger set is that they don’t know what they don’t know. They’re impatient to move up, but don’t understand all that is involved in learning this business. I think we will see more specialized workers, because the days of being a generalist are going by the wayside. I’ve had 34 years and there are still things I learn every day.

  • April 10, 2014 at 11:29 am
    LiveFree says:
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    I agree with the sentiment here that insurance should be attracting more young workers but I have a bias against that sentiment being a young insurance employee myself (so please stop trying to attract my competition! haha).

    I believe insurance can be “sexy” if you have a little understanding of the industry beforehand and know what jobs to look for out of the gate. One of the reasons I actually was interested in working in this industry is because I saw the growth opportunity that I could take advantage of.

    It also helped a lot that I found a job that involves me in multiple different responsibilities ranging from underwriting, marketing, claims, accounting, regulatory, captive management, and even down to direct mailing policies and prospect mining. I never know what new thing I am going to be asked to do each week, it keeps things interesting. I would be miserable if I had taken a larger agency’s entry position (have many friends that have) to start as a line underwriter having a narrow set of responsibilities that require staff UW approval for every step I take.

    I think that is the problem, most jobs in this industry just don’t allow you to really grow or even enjoy what you do since you do the same boring process each day for years before you can move to a new set of also relatively narrow responsibilities.

    • April 10, 2014 at 12:11 pm
      Libby says:
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      Couldn’t agree more. That’s one reason I would never work for a carrier. Working in an agency has exposed me to so much more than if I worked for a national carrier.

      If you find the right boss and express interest and enthusiasm, they will let you run with things. I’ve been a mentor to several young people and they are very successful today. One is the Risk Manager for an international oil company, one is the Risk Manager for a huge city in North Carolina, three have gone from account assistant positions to account management positions within 9 months, and one is in management with a large software company. The last one I actually had to fire because she just wasn’t cut out for insurance. She still thanks me to this day.

      I find this industry exciting and I learn something every day. I try to transfer that enthusiasm to recruits, but as a whole, the industry lacks in that department.

  • April 14, 2014 at 11:12 am
    Paul says:
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    My experience has been that graduates are ill-prepared, aloof, and self-entitled brats who have been given trophies and accolades by authority figures for simply showing up. They also suffer from performance anxiety because they’ve never had a reason to suffer through a project from start to finish, or go through the flames of adversity. The ONLY place I will go to recruit are veterans. They have been reoriented to learn how to be a team player, set goals and celebrate accomplishment.

  • April 14, 2014 at 1:13 pm
    knowall says:
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    Much of management is now done by emails and such electronic monitoring (maybe that is true in all industries these days?). Anyway, it’s not like the old days where you used to go out to a prospect’s home or workplace and try and close the deal; it’s all about credit score and claims history even with personal lines. One identical looking neighbor pays a totally different premium amount.

    It’s not as much fun as it was in the day.



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