With the expected exodus of thousands of skilled claims professionals within the next few years, concern is growing among insurers about how to best address the need for experienced claims employees.

In an exclusive claims executive roundtable with Claims Journal, members of the International Association of Claim Professionals (IACP) offered advice to insurers as they brace for the mass exit of seasoned employees.

According to Peter Fennell, immediate past president of the IACP and managing director for Aon Benfield, it will be difficult to find claims professionals in the next five to 10 years as a result of an estimated 25 percent of the industry that is expected to retire within the next few years.

The disruption has allowed some talented employees to rise up to take over open positions; however, the industry has not been good at attracting a younger generation, said Scott Kellers, head of syndicate claims and reinsurance claims for Liberty Specialty Markets.

The challenge is in getting the right people with the relevant experience and training, said Marc Karnell, global head of insurance claims and technical director of Endurance Services Ltd.

“The gap is going to be hard to fill,” Karnell said.

Sandra Van Enk, senior vice president and head of Americas Treaty Claims at SCOR Reinsurance Co. and past president of the IACP, said it’s not all doom and gloom, noting that SCOR tries to train and mentor individuals and ready them for higher-level opportunities when they become available.

Claim knowledge and good business acumen is important, Van Enk said.

“They know their areas. They have expertise, but they can also interact with both internal and external stakeholders. For us that’s absolutely key,” explained Van Enk.

In addition to in-house training, Karnell said insurers need to reach out to colleges.

“This organization [IACP] does that quite a bit through scholarships, and we have intern programs,” said Karnell.

Alex Sardinia, executive claims officer for Markel North America, emphasized the importance of knowledge transfer as skilled employees retire and new employees take over.

“We have to make sure they impart that knowledge as they’re leaving,” said Sardinia. “That’s a big, big challenge in the industry.”

The IACP held its 47th annual conference in Sonoma, Calif., last month.