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One of my favorite places to visit when I’m in Manhattan is Hudson River Park. The waterfront pathway bends in several spots, and with the right timing, you can catch some beautiful sunsets over the river. Sometimes, I don’t know what’s better: seeing the sunset, or seeing New Yorkers’ faces as they round a corner and see the sunset. You can watch their expressions soften slightly or see them crane their necks as they’re walking by. Sometimes, they feel moved enough to stop and take a picture. Other times, they simply smirk. That’s my favorite reaction. It seems to say, “OK, New York. I don’t have to tell you. You know how great you are.”

New York is a bustling place, and seeing someone stop to appreciate something beautiful like a sunset is rare. It’s a reminder of the importance of taking time to breathe and gather your thoughts before rushing off to wherever you’re going next. I was reminded of that a lot while interviewing for this cover story, which was, admittedly, a tough story to write.

It’s no question the past few years have been challenging with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Recently, industries like InsurTech have been dealing with layoffs and workforce turnover as they navigate economic uncertainty and a whole lot of change. Insurance Nerds, a source for talent development and career management in insurance, has tracked layoffs at 18 companies affecting 1,084 employees as of August 2022 when the stats were last updated. I called a couple of formerly laid-off InsurTech employees, as well as fintech recruiters, to get a sense of how the industry is feeling. And while it isn’t without its share of challenges, I kept hearing a message of hope. (Related article: You’ve Been Laid Off. Now What? Navigating InsurTech’s Workforce Transformation)

Data Leader Dr. Sam Jain, a former Embroker employee affected by layoffs at the company last year, suggested the industry has weathered difficulty before and will pull through again. “I don’t want to undermine the toughest job market in 20 years,” he said. “However, the tech sector has gone through this before…”

Ken Jordan, managing partner of the insurance practice at recruiting firm Smith & Wilkinson, told me he has seen an uptick in job candidates since InsurTech’s rise in layoffs. However, “We’re all on this rollercoaster ride together,” he said, adding that “InsurTech isn’t going away.”

Steve McOrmond, another formerly laid-off InsurTech employee, agreed. His position was eliminated last year when Chisel AI decided to wind down its operations, and he now serves as senior content marketing manager at another InsurTech, Federato. He said he believes “as strongly as ever in the enormous opportunity presented by InsurTech.”

It seems the entire insurance industry is grappling with questions of how to recruit and retain talent. Carrier Management Assistant Editor Kim Tallon wrote an article last year about the quiet quitting trend, compiling research and sharing tips on how to prevent it. For this issue, she’s exploring another emerging concept: quiet firing. Also in these pages, Wells Media Group’s Content Editor Allen Laman addresses a challenge that has surged for insurers since the COVID-19 shutdowns: striking a balance between remote and in-office work while maintaining a competitive edge. Speaking of talent competition, our Executive Editor Susanne Sclafane spoke with Branch Insurance Co-Founder Steve Lekas to gain insight into how the industry is re-thinking work culture. Branch is an InsurTech unicorn and the only insurance company on Glassdoor’s Best Places to Work List. He shares some secrets to success that landed the company in that spot.

You’ll also hear from Sclafane in the first episode of a new Carrier Management video series I will be launching, and hosting, called Between the Lines, taking viewers beyond the printed pages each quarter. The episode, which publishes on March 7, will feature video commentary and interviews from outside experts on this issue’s talent topic.

As the first quarter of 2023 winds down, it feels like the insurance industry is collectively taking time to gather its thoughts, breathe and prepare for what comes next. Dr. Jain offered his advice during our conversation: “As the British say, ‘Keep calm and carry on.'”

Sometimes, it’s hard to know what’s around the corner. But despite any challenges, the industry seems to be preparing for change as transformative as a sunset.

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This editor’s note introduces the content of Carrier Management’s first-quarter magazine, “Talent in the P/C Insurance Industry 2023

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