Can The Industry Unite On Recruitment?

Getting the insurance industry to act in unison is a lot like herding cats, which is just one of the challenges faced by those trying to launch a new initiative to recruit the next generation of talent into the business.

In my last blog, I reported on the steps taken by 110 attendees at the Insurance Education and Career Summit in Atlanta, who assembled to get the ball rolling on a campaign to more effectively attract the best and the brightest from the high school, college and post-graduate ranks.

The Summit, organized by the Griffith Insurance Education Foundation, drew representatives from insurance companies, brokerages, industry associations, universities and consulting firms (including yours truly). We were joined by more than a dozen insurance and risk-management students with lots of ideas on how to convince their peers to follow them into the business.

Together, we identified three of the biggest obstacles to attracting new blood into insurance (the industry’s poor image, uncoordinated resources and the lack of a compelling message). We recommended three initiatives to overcome these obstacles (research into student and parent attitudes toward insurance, crafting a catchy recruitment message, and creating an information hub for students).

We also determined who would take the lead—at least in the effort’s formative stage (Griffith and the Summit’s Titanium Sponsor, The Institutes, which handle a slew of insurance designation programs).

That was the easy part. Now comes the truly hard work.

What challenges must the Summit’s leaders, sponsors and participants meet to make this recruitment initiative successful?

One challenge will be to involve as many industry players as possible—even those who didn’t attend the Summit for whatever reason.

There is already a lot of good work being done in recruitment, and others are grappling with the same problems addressed in Atlanta. Since one of the obstacles cited by Summit attendees was a lack of coordinated resources and a unified message, recruiting more participants to hop on this new bandwagon would be a logical next step.

A second challenge will be to keep those who did attend the Summit engaged. The temptation might be to let Griffith and The Institutes handle the heavy lifting now that the Summit is over. But having attendees and their organizations continue to play an active and productive role, even if it’s only in an advisory capacity, would demonstrate our commitment to work together to draw new talent into an aging industry work force.

Maintaining a vital role for insurance and risk-management students in this initiative is a third challenge. The students attending the Summit provided an invaluable reality check since they are the ones in closest touch with those the insurance industry is trying to recruit—their young peers. Making sure the voice of students who are already committed to a career in the business is heard loud and clear each step of the way is therefore a very sensible goal.

In fact, in Atlanta I suggested that if we came out of the Summit with no other commitment, attendees should at least make sure the students in attendance land jobs in the industry after graduation. Each student delegate was highly professional, very motivated, and dedicated to a career in insurance and risk management.  If there were more like them, we wouldn’t need this initiative. Their enthusiasm for working in insurance energized the entire Summit.

Of course, establishing some formal governance structure to manage the project—and raising money to finance it—will be additional challenges. But the fact that so many organizations were willing to commit time, money and people to this Summit is a good omen indeed.

It certainly is a worthy cause. After all, our industry’s future depends on its success.

About the Author
Sam J. Friedman

Sam J. Friedman

Sam J. Friedman is  Research Team Leader at the Deloitte Center for Financial Services. For many years, he was the Editor in Chief of National Underwriter’s P&C edition. He may be reached at samfriedman@deloitte.com.

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