As more and more experienced insurance agency and carrier employees discover their retirement income isn’t what they thought it would be, many are happy to find work they can do from home to supplement their incomes. That’s where Sharon Emek and her new organization, WAHVE, or Work At Home Vintage Employees, come in.
“[W[hat I’m doing is finding all our amazing retirees in the insurance space. As you know, the baby boomer population is beginning to retire. Our average age in the industry is 54 and we have an amazing amount of talent and brainpower out there that has retired from the industry but still needs to work,” says Emek, who is co-founder, president and CEO of WAHVE and someone with industry experience as a partner at the New York insurance agency, CBS Coverage Group, Inc.
Emek says many retirees prefer what she calls “phased retirement,” working from home on a contract basis. They like working in the industry they know better than becoming massage therapists or clerks in local stores.
“A number of years ago, you couldn’t have done this because the technology wasn’t there to work remotely from home. Also, in past years, people weren’t as technologically savvy as they are today. But people in their 60s are very savvy. The second-fastest-growing users of Facebook are women in their 60s,” says Emek.
The WAHVE network includes customer service representatives (CSRs), account executives, underwriters, claims managers — people who have worked at retail agencies, wholesalers and insurance carriers. Many hold professional designations, including CIC, ARM, CPCU, and they hail from all over the country.
That’s key for Emek— that the workers are in the U.S.:
“These are our retirees. It’s about keeping jobs in America. What we say is that outsourcing is not a foreign concept. So with WAHVE, we outsource here to our own retirees as opposed to overseas. And believe it or not, we’re pretty competitive.”
The cost is competitive because U.S. retirees are mainly looking to supplement their retirement income and Social Security. “They’re just happy to earn more money, to do something they love, and to do it at the convenience of their home, and so they can have more a balanced retirement,” she says.
Emek estimates that employers can save about 40 to 50 percent over hiring a staff person who needs benefits, training and office overhead. WAHVE, which is one of the finalists in MarketScout’s Entrepreneurial Insurance Awards, even supplies the computers for its retirees to use in working from home.
At-home workers are perhaps best employed doing process work, according to Emek, who cites policy checking, certificates of insurance, comparative rating of policies, preparing for a renewals, and collecting and analyzing loss runs as examples.
“There is all kinds of process work that can be done in support of your CSRs and your account executives so that they don’t have to do that work,” Emek says.
Also, Emek adds, at-home employees can do the work more efficiently because they are not interrupted by customer calls and other tasks.
To watch a video interview with Emek on WAHVE, visit insurancejournal.tv.
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