Recruiting and Retaining Claims Talent in the Candidate’s Market

By Karen Lopez | September 5, 2022

The insurance industry is experiencing a reshuffling of talent, an aging workforce and ongoing disruption. Its vital insurance organizations are exploring their current talent strategies to successfully attract and retain those at the hearts of their organizations: claims professionals.

Especially during catastrophe season, an engaged and agile claims team is key for effectively serving policyholders in their times of need.

However, the industry is continuing to experience an extreme talent shortage.

Open finance and insurance positions reached their highest level on record in June 2022, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Additionally, unemployment within the industry remains low, at just 2.1% in July.

To come out ahead, claims leaders must take a fresh approach to their talent management strategies.

Broaden Your Candidate Base

Competition for talent is not slowing down. In fact, the Q3 2022 Insurance Labor Market Study, conducted by The Jacobson Group and Aon-Ward, uncovered the demand for claims professionals within property and casualty insurers is at its highest in the study’s 13-year history. Of those planning to add claims staff, roughly two-thirds are most likely to hire experienced, non-management-level individuals and nearly one-third seek entry-level employees. Successfully attracting new talent to your organization and these vital operational roles is essential.

Appeal to a broader audience by focusing on the human element of claims in your job descriptions, not just the technical specifications. In the current candidate-driven labor market, recruiting success is often dependent on looking for talent in non-traditional places and focusing on transferable skills, rather than specific experience. Access a wider pool of potential talent by tapping into industries outside of insurance that depend on similar core skill sets. For instance, individuals in retail, food service or even banking roles generally have honed their skills in areas such as customer service and problem-solving, which directly contribute to success in claims. Determine which innate skills are necessary for a role and which more technical or process-focused components can be taught on the job, letting this guide your recruitment and selection process.

Note that younger generations generally desire the ability to make a difference, while staying true to their personal values. They also value opportunity for movement, both upward and laterally. As you strive to recruit young professionals, focus on how you can fulfill their unique needs and provide flexible schedules and remote work opportunities, among other benefits. Share how a role in claims enables them to make an impact, while laying the foundation for a wealth of future opportunities — whether it’s moving more linearly into senior claims management or growing into other areas of the organization. Often, these individuals have had limited exposure to insurance, making it important to help them identify and understand potential opportunities.

Energize Current Employees

While claims provides an outstanding springboard for a life-long career in insurance, entry-level claims roles can be challenging. Many young claims professionals spend their days talking with customers who are reacting to high-stress situations or experiencing loss. Be empathetic and actively support your current employees. Providing tools such as soft skills and emotional intelligence training can help them effectively diffuse charged situations and feel more confident in their roles.

Be intentional in helping employees feel a sense of belonging and camaraderie within your team and organization.

Connect individuals with their peers, as well as professionals in other departments and levels of the organization. Demonstrate your commitment to their growth and development by pairing high potential individuals with coaches and mentors. These relationships can help broaden an individual’s understanding of your organization and how to position themselves for success in both their current and future roles.

Rethink Retention

Prioritizing retention not only ensures you’re able to meet demands during CAT season, it also creates a bench of well-rounded talent primed to build long-term careers with your company. In addition to recruiting from outside the organization, consider how you can build mid-career claims talent internally. Invest in retaining and developing young talent into more experienced professionals, ready to step into roles left vacant from retirement and attrition.

Create formal retention plans for high potential individuals that account for their current needs and future goals. Consider holding “stay interviews” to better understand what they are looking for in a long-term career and whether they are satisfied with their role and the larger organization. These transparent conversations enable you to uncover individuals’ motivators and what it will take to keep them with your company. For some, this may be in the form of money and bonuses, yet others may be more motivated by flexibility, upward mobility or public recognition. Asking candid questions will enable you to create more tailored retention plans that resonate with individual employees.

An organization’s success is dependent on its talent. By refreshing how your claims department approaches talent acquisition and management, you’ll be better positioned to remain competitive in today’s market. Broadening your talent pool, recognizing the needs of today’s young professionals, and investing in your current internal talent will result in a dedicated and future-ready claims workforce.

Topics Claims Talent Training Development

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Insurance Journal West September 5, 2022
September 5, 2022
Insurance Journal West Magazine

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