Two of the most critical talent issues facing insurance companies are recruitment and retention. Retention is essential for controlling costs, sustaining company culture and maintaining client relationships within organizations. But attracting the next generation of talent to our industry has, up to this point, proven a challenge that companies are scrambling to solve in real time.

Executive Summary

Chris Hampshire, 2022 global CPCU Society president and vice president of Sales in Gallagher Bassett’s Carrier Practice, discusses recruitment strategies for the P/C insurance industry, starting with telling the story of the industry’s good work and stressing the need to highlight its career growth potential and history of innovation.

Back in 2010, 400,000 open jobs were forecasted to be available in the year 2020. This seemed almost inconceivable at the time, but we now realize that the talent crunch, which has been exacerbated by the pandemic, is more severe than the industry could have predicted. As more senior professionals begin to retire in what’s being called the “Silver Tsunami,” the industry needs to address the aging demographic and ensure it is offering compelling employee propositions to draw in new talent.

Our industry continues to innovate, integrating more decision-support tools into everyday business processes. This will allow the next generation of insurance professionals to focus on creative problem-solving and other high-impact activities, making real change for policyholders and carriers. There is also an immediate opportunity for new entrants to be on the leading edge of the data and technology sea change that’s happening in the insurance industry right now.

This is where the war for talent will continue, with our industry needing to shake off the preconceived notions of our work. My expectation is that, as the industry changes, more high-caliber professionals will be drawn to it, and we will provide an even higher level of service to our clients in the years ahead. In the meantime, we need to do a better job of letting people know and understand the career opportunities within insurance.

Here are a few key recruitment strategies that can be put into practice now to help attract the next generation of talent.

Highlight the Value of ‘Good Work’

Finding a deeper sense of meaning and contributing something positive to society is becoming a must-have for potential job candidates. However, historically, the insurance industry has not done a great job of telling the story of how we help people and companies recover after a loss. Claims professionals, for example, help people put their lives back together during their greatest time of need. Nothing in business happens without insurance providing support. Our industry is the oxygen that allows commerce to happen. Additionally, protecting the property and financial futures of individuals is a cornerstone of what we do.

It’s important to consistently provide this positive message about our industry to better engage job candidates and emphasize how a career in our industry can truly be rewarding.

Emphasize Lifelong Learning Opportunities

There is always one more thing to learn, and our industry is no exception. The wave of retirees exiting our industry—and taking decades of institutional knowledge with them—has created a vacuum, opening an opportunity for new hires to earn certifications and advanced degrees that will make them indispensable throughout their careers.

The Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation, often called the “Master’s Degree of Insurance,” is one such example. The CPCU provides a deep and well-rounded understanding of the insurance industry. In addition, there are numerous segment-specific designations such as the Associate in Risk Management, Associate in Reinsurance and others that allow professionals to build their knowledge along with their credibility.

Showcase Technology Applications and Innovations

Our industry has decades worth of data that is beginning to be harnessed by new technology applications to help businesses make smarter, data-driven decisions. Now is the perfect time for analytical talent to join the insurance industry to apply new strategies and use data to drive superior results at organizations.

That said, the industry needs to do a better job of spreading the word to math and IT-focused candidates about the tremendous opportunities to develop their skills in our data-rich environment. There’s never been a better time to help insurance clients make better business decisions using data than right now.

Focus on Career Growth Potential

Unemployment in the insurance industry consistently falls lower than the national average. Career paths in the insurance industry feature stable work and strong income potential with low unemployment. Many claims professionals find a unique career path with options that help keep them engaged while ensuring they’re able to pursue their professional goals and hone their skills in a tailored and inclusive environment.

Within the claims sector alone, a professional can move into claims management, coverage specialization, or pivot to loss control, sales, underwriting or account management with a few years of hard work and a commitment to the craft.

The insurance and risk management industry can offer a unique combination of career pathing, knowledge development and financial security. By highlighting the rewarding work of the insurance industry and lifelong learning opportunities, as well as showcasing technology and applicable skills, the industry will be better positioned to attract and retain the next generation of talent.