According to a new Conning & Company study, while the overall U.S. job market has cooled considerably over the last year, the demand for qualified insurance claims professionals has never been higher. In fact, the dearth of experienced claims professionals could reach crisis levels for the industry unless insurers do more to attract and develop the future claims leaders of their organizations.
According to Conning’s most recent study, “Property-Casualty Claims Management: Adjusting to New Realities,” during much of the ’90s, many insurers sought profitability by bringing in premiums to invest in the surging capital markets, not through efficiencies in their core services. Thus, insurers considered their claims departments an operational expense that took a backseat, in terms of attention, to marketing, sales and asset management.
However, this attitude has recently changed as a weaker investment market has forced insurers to re-focus their attention on their core operations, including claims management. But, prior cuts in recruiting and training of new claims adjusters have left many claims departments severely weakened and overworked.
Conning attributes some of the fault for the claims labor shortage to the insurance industry. The industry has not done enough to attract college graduates to a career in claims. Insurers also need to be more proactive in making advanced training and educational opportunities available for their claims staffs. Many of the claims executives interviewed for the Conning study pointed out that there is often no clearly defined career path for claims professionals and no development plans to prepare people for positions of increased responsibility.
Runaway litigation has exacerbated the impending crisis of the shortage of qualified claims professionals in the property casualty sector. Since in many cases, insurers cannot rely on the courts to put a cap on the size of a claim and juries have shown a tendency to side with the claimants, their best defense is to maintain highly experienced claims departments.
A complete listing of all Conning Strategic Studies can also be found by visiting the company’s website at www.conning.com.
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