Despite sentiments about technology lags, the vast majority of young agents responding to Insurance Journal’s 2017 Young Agents Survey believe strongly that their career choice was the right one.
The survey found that 82.1 percent of young agents consider insurance to be a permanent career choice and 79.5 percent of those would recommend being an agent to another young person.
“This is a great career and with the right company, you are given plenty of room to grow and or even create your own career path!” one young agent said.
But one area that concerns young agents is the industry’s need to attract talent. Some 42.8 percent rank finding new employees as their agency’s biggest challenge, but some 62.9 percent say they are “very optimistic” or “optimistic” about the prospects.
Finding quality talent is by far the biggest challenge for agency owners today, said Sharon Emek, president and CEO of Work at Home Vintage Experts (WAHVE). “The insurance industry is very knowledge-based so you can’t just take anyone off the street and expect them to go into an account manager position. It takes many years of training,” she said.
Estimates predict there will be about 400,000 open jobs in the insurance industry by 2020, said Deborah Pickford, executive director for InVEST, whose mission is to improve insurance literacy in students and attract new talent to the industry. The good news: technology can be a tool used by agencies to attract younger employees, she said. Technology can also be used to provide better “synergy” between younger and older workers in the agency.
“Young agents have grown up with all types of technology that the older agent hasn’t,” Pickford said. “I think there’s a nice synergy there in that the younger person can come into the agency and work with that older agent on technology. But also, the older agent can teach the younger agent things like customer service, leadership, management …. There’s a lot to be learned from a younger professional in terms of technology that can provide a lot of efficiency in the agency.”