Brian Duperreault

American International Group CEO Brian Duperreault said an effort launched about two years ago to recruit more young people to the property/casualty industry is making some progress, but there is room for improvement.

“I think it is OK, but we could certainly make it better,” Duperreault said at the Insurance Information Institute’s Joint Industry Forum in New York on Jan. 16.

Duperreault has been part of a initiative to bring more younger employees to insurance at least since 2016, in his previous capacity as CEO of Hamilton Insurance Group. The effort since then, now known as the Insurance Careers Movement, includes participation from more than 850 industry organizations and companies including AIG, Lloyd’s, Hamilton Insurance Group, XL Catlin and Argo Group. The group is planning a third annual Insurance Careers Month in February 2018, an effort that in the past has included outreach from both younger and older employees to high schools and colleges.

Duperreault, Argo Group CEO Mark Watson, and EMC Group CEO Bruce Kelley spoke during an III panel focused on CEO leadership challenges). Duperreault explained later to Carrier Management that he sees the recruitment of younger, more tech-savvy employees as “a momentum question.”

“It could always be better,” he said. “You have to pick it up. You have to continue to recognize that focus on getting peers, people who are of the same age [to be our spokespeople]. We have to make sure we continue to emphasize that and roll out programs to get that done.”

Mark Watson

Duperreault noted that this is the second year of the industrywide effort to recruit more millennials, and that he sees the work so far as good. He added that the effort is now industrywide, which itself is significant.

“The industry is now open to having an initiative that is very broad-based, and taking the best ideas from wherever they come,” he said.

Argo Group’s Watson, speaking during the panel, said that the industry’s own evolution has made recruitment easier.

“Fortunately, we have evolved a bit,” Watson said. “It is pretty different and has changed just in the last few years. We’re not only trying to recruit underwriters and claims adjusters, but we are also hiring a lot of data scientists, actuaries and software engineers.”

Watson underscored that change by describing Argo Group’s New York City office.

“When I look at our workforce in particular here in New York City, the majority of people in our office do something other than underwrite or process claims. The largest [group] is the digital team.”

EMC’s Kelley said that location has also been an important part of recruitment, such as when potential employees want a short work commute.

“It does play into how you can attract talent, where does a person want to live, what kind of lifestyle you want to have,” Kelley explained

Duperreault agreed.

“Geography certainly does matter,” he said. “It can go both ways. There are people who want to be in a city like New York and those who couldn’t imagine living that life. Finding other people that love the city is part of the trick of getting your talent base continually refreshed.”