Survey: 51% of Insurers Expect to Increase Staff in 2012

By | February 23, 2012

A new study says 51 percent of the insurance carriers recently surveyed expect to increase staff in the next 12 months. But it’s not all good news: the survey also found that 19 percent of the carriers expect to reduce staff, while 30 percent said they will maintain their current staff level.

The poll was conducted from Jan. 9 to 25, by Chicago-based insurance recruiting firm The Jacobson Group and Cincinnati-based consulting firm Ward Group. Overall, 112 insurers participated in the study which was published on Feb. 22.

Among the participants, 62 were regional carriers and 50 were national or multinational. The average number of employees at regional insurers in the survey was 867. For national or multinational carriers, the average number of employees was 2,755. P/C insurers made up 87 percent of the respondents.

Among companies that expect to cut staff this year, the biggest reason cited was automation (20 percent), followed by reorganization and streamlining. (14 percent)

Some 69 percent of the insurers in the survey said they expect higher revenues in 2012, while 20 percent anticipate no growth and 11 percent forecast lower revenues.

Among the companies surveyed, 47 percent said they had hired more employees during the past year, while 30 percent said they reduced their staff and 22 percent said they made no changes to their staffing level.

The 2012 jobs outlook appears rosier at smaller companies. The survey said 60 percent of small carriers plan to add additional staff over the next 12 months — which is 13 points higher than responses for mid-sized companies and 18 points higher than large companies.

The survey found that:

• 51.2 percent of all companies in the survey plan to increase staff during the next 12 months, up from 44 percent in a similar survey six months ago.

• The likelihood of companies increasing staff is up 4.5 percent since July 2011. This trend was consistent in nearly every function except compliance and product management, which remained flat. Actuarial was the only function that showed a slight decrease in likelihood to increase staff.

• While optimism to grow revenue is higher than prior studies, it fell 6 points from the previous high of July 2011.

• Nearly 47 percent of the companies stated that change in market share will drive their expected revenue changes.

• For the second straight survey, the primary reason to hire more staff continues to be an increase in business volume. Some 43 percent of companies listed this reason to hire compared to a previous high of 53 percent in July 2011.

• Technology, underwriting and claim roles are expected to grow the greatest over the next 12 months.

• With permanent staffing increasing, recruiting is also up slightly over the past two years.

• Actuarial, executive and technology positions continue to be the most difficult to fill. Commercial P/C underwriting positions continue to be in higher demand and are more difficult to fill.

• Over the next 12 months, there will be a continued increase in the use of temporary employees.

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