There is a talent gap looming ahead for the insurance industry. It’s possible that more than half of the professionals in today’s industry are 50 years old or more. It’s expected a large portion of those professionals will retire in the next few years.
The insurance industry needs new talent, but young people are generally not looking at insurance as a field they want to work in.
A 2015 survey by the Hartford found that 4 percent of millennials want to work in insurance, instead focusing on arts and entertainment (40 percent) and technology (30 percent). This lack of candidates could explain, at least to some degree, the growth in insuretech financing. In July, Willis Towers Watson’s “Quarterly InsureTech Briefing Q2 2017” found that insuretech funding was around $1 billion — an almost 150 percent increase from Q2 the previous year.
Many organizations in the industry, including PLUS, have programs geared to assist young professionals in gaining necessary skills while increasing the depth of the insurance talent pool. Insurance and risk management programs at colleges and universities continue to grow, but they still only supply enough talent to fill a small percentage of the need.
What a tremendous opportunity this flow of retirements could be for young professionals that do choose the insurance industry. For those bright, ambitious, forward-looking young professionals, the insurance world could be an amazing opportunity. Sheer numbers alone are on their side, and young professionals’ entrepreneurial spirit and preference for innovation could make them incredibly valuable as the industry changes.
But to enhance these opportunities, they will still need to do one thing that many in the insurance industry have been doing for years — build their personal brands.
This industry is so much about who you know, what you know and how much others trust you. In a business with such an emphasis on relationships, personal brand building is going to continue to be extremely important, and even more so in the future.
New technologies provide more ways to build your brand than ever before. Twitter, LinkedIn and other social sites provide vehicles to both learn and share expertise with others. They also provide opportunities to connect with people from far distances. That’s why, as part of the PLUS 30th Annual Conference in Atlanta, attendees will have access to social media professionals who will help them improve their profiles, find more ways to connect online and even take professional profile photos.
Yet simply being seen and heard in the “social sphere” is not enough for young professionals to build their personal brand. They must acquire knowledge and find ways to pass it on. Many professional associations, like PLUS, provide training and designations programs. Many employers also have robust training and educational materials available that supplement the on-the job experience. Young professionals can share their knowledge and expertise through speaking at industry functions; writing for industry blogs and publications; or being presenters on webinars or blogs.
In the professional liability industry, few have built a better brand than Kevin LaCroix, RPLU. He is a frequent speaker and author for PLUS, and a past PLUS president. His D&O Diary may be the most read blog in the industry.
LaCroix’s advice for young professionals looking to build their personal brands is to: “Simply go out and make friends with people in the industry. Just be seen and get to know people. Through those relationships, you can build trust and credibility, and display expertise.”
That’s certainly sound and simple advice for those who can see the tremendous opportunities the insurance industry can provide for young professionals.