Sponsored: Swiss Re Corporate Solutions

5 Ways to Attract the Next Generation of Insurance Talent

The talent shortage is a critical emerging risk in the insurance industry, which has fallen short in demonstrating its purpose and value to prospective employees. Here are five strategies companies can pursue to strengthen recruitment and retention, and better position themselves to fulfill their mission for years to come.
By: | April 24, 2024

According to a U.S. Chamber of Commerce report, the number of insurance professionals aged 55 and older has increased 74% in the past 10 years, while less than 25% of the industry is under age 35. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics estimates that over the next 15 years, 400,000 positions in the industry will go unfilled as those older workers retire with nobody to replace them.

The talent shortage is rapidly becoming one of the most pertinent emerging risks in the industry, leaving companies across the board struggling to transfer their seasoned employees’ expertise to younger workers while devising strategies to attract and retain the next generation of underwriters, brokers and claims professionals.

“While climate change, cyber risks, AI and other emerging and ongoing risks are undoubtedly more critical, the talent issue underpins everything. If we don’t attract and retain the best talent, I don’t know how we can solve these massive challenges as an industry,” said Katie McGrath, North America CEO, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions.

What’s Causing the Shortage?

Katie McGrath, North America CEO, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions

According to McGrath, the industry has not done a great job of representing itself as purpose-driven. Younger generations want to feel that their careers are meaningful and impactful, and the industry has to paint a picture of a how a career in insurance fits those criteria.

“We excel at selling the value of our products, but we fall short in selling the value of our industry itself. Many of us in the industry today simply fell into it. But now, people entering the workforce want to be convinced of what they’ll be a part of. This is where we need to improve — in telling our story better, conveying what we do and why it’s important,” McGrath said. “In my view, we enable commerce across the globe, yet we don’t paint this overarching picture effectively enough to attract talent.”

The industry has also only become more purposeful and targeted in its recruitment efforts within the past five to 10 years. Attracting new talent for years to come will require more proactive and intentional outreach.

What Can the Industry Do Better?

Younger workers also want to work for companies that offer flexibility and work-life balance, that aren’t afraid to adopt new technology, and that allow employees to explore their interests, develop their knowledge and apply their expertise in different ways. In other words, they want to see career paths that don’t pigeonhole them into one specific role.

McGrath said the industry can deliver on all these wants. Here’s what companies can do to demonstrate their value and strengthen their recruitment efforts.

1) Collaborate

When underwriters, brokers and claims people work together to educate younger people about insurance careers, they can highlight just how interconnected the industry is and show how many opportunities exist to explore personal interests and leverage expertise in different ways.

“I believe that by joining hands and working together across the industry, we’ll achieve greater success in addressing the talent shortage and retention challenges we face,” McGrath said. “Insurance companies and brokers are collaborating on training programs, lunch-and-learns and talent exchanges, showcasing the interconnectedness of the sector.”

Working together not only highlights different opportunities in the field, but also lightens the load for individual companies in their recruitment initiatives.

2) Start Early

Identifying and attracting talent for the long haul requires going beyond college graduate programs. It starts with educating high schoolers about the benefits of an insurance career.

“An exciting development is the rise of apprenticeship programs. Apprenticeships take it a step further by engaging with high schools to bring in young talent and generate excitement about insurance careers, regardless of whether they pursue higher education,” McGrath said.

Companies also need to be consistent with outreach and education initiatives year-round, seeking out job fairs and career days outside of Insurance Careers Month in February.

3) Highlight Technology

With the advent of AI and machine learning, the insurance industry offers more and more potential career paths focusing on data management and technology development and implementation. By demonstrating how technology is embedded in different processes, companies can shed the long-standing image that insurance is slow-moving when it comes to modernization.

“As a risk data knowledge company, we emphasize the importance of technology in our promotional efforts. Specifically for underwriting roles, where talent acquisition and retention can be challenging, we focus on conveying the evolution of the profession. We emphasize how automation enables underwriters to engage in higher-value tasks and build stronger client relationships,” McGrath said.

4) Emphasize Relationships

Ask any insurance professional and they’ll tell you that insurance is a people business. Relationships matter. Communication skills are critical. Jobs in insurance are about more than data collecting, number crunching and contract wording. Excelling in this industry is centered around understanding a client’s needs and working collaboratively to build solutions.

“We strive to remind potential talent that insurance is fundamentally a people business. For those seeking a career centered around human interaction, we aim to be an attractive choice,” McGrath said.

5) Identify the Purpose

Again, it all comes down to showing younger people what good they help to achieve by working in insurance. The whole purpose of the industry is to build resilience — to help individuals, businesses and indeed whole cities recover and move on from disasters big and small. Insurance enables organizations to take risks and therefore fosters growth. Without insurance, economies couldn’t function optimally.

“A career in the insurance industry is truly purpose-led. We have the ability to help people at their most vulnerable, which is incredibly meaningful. At Swiss Re, our mission is to make the world more resilient, and we live that every day,” McGrath said.

No matter what role in the industry someone chooses to pursue, they contribute to this overall mission.

“The entire insurance industry — including insurance companies, brokers and risk managers — is collectively working towards this goal of building resilience,” McGrath said. “That’s how I would describe the appeal of our industry to potential newcomers.”

To learn more, visit Swiss Re Corporate Solutions’ website.



This article was produced by the R&I Brand Studio, a unit of the advertising department of Risk & Insurance, in collaboration with Swiss Re Corporate Solutions. The editorial staff of Risk & Insurance had no role in its preparation.

Swiss Re Corporate Solutions offers innovative, high-quality insurance capacity to mid-sized and large multinational corporations and public entities across the globe.

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