As insurance agents and brokers, each of us has various professional and personal responsibilities we must address every day. Responding to the risk management needs and submissions of policyholders and retail producers in a competitive environment often becomes an all-consuming task.
However, as insurance professionals, we cannot lose sight of our other, equally important responsibilities. We have an obligation to ensure the continuity of our respective enterprises and, thereby, the industry as well. New employees as well as students in university risk and insurance management programs across the country will soon be reading this magazine. Soon they’ll be writing these articles, and eventually sitting in the chair in which you are currently sitting as you read this article. (Okay, maybe not so soon on that last one.)
Related: Read "Four Steps P&C Insurers Must Take to Recruit Talent"
According to a 2010 McKinsey & Co. report, 20 percent of the current insurance industry workforce is near retirement. That number is expected to grow to 25 percent by 2018. The report states that some segments of our industry will feel the talent drain more significantly than others. Some roles in particular, such as underwriters, will also be harder hit than other positions.
We have an opportunity to ensure that our industry remains a trusted, vibrant, diverse and integral means by which people and commercial entities can rely on talented professionals to properly secure their risks. Achieving this “successful” succession and future continuity means we must begin the process today.
Related: Read "Onboarding New Claims Staff"
Become a proactive mentor to a student or new employee. Sharing your professional experience is an invaluable resource provides more information than a textbook or new employee handbook. Visit campuses to talk about your own career path and how you have sustained your business. Encourage your marketing folks to liaise with marketing majors to discuss new products or services. Host a corporate event or regularly take a student or new employee to lunch. You will be amazed at their level of interest and appreciation.
Related: Read "8 Stories of Mentors and Sponsorship"
It’s more than just inviting your mentees to join your LinkedIn network. We often repeat the refrain that ours is a business built on relationships, and it is. The challenge is to take on this added personal responsibility with an eye toward the future of our businesses, and the insurance profession as a whole. Mentoring is part of leadership. A successful succession requires early, and proactive efforts. Engaging tomorrow’s leaders today will make sure our marketplace continues successfully into the future, and our value propositions as agents and brokers are similarly sustained and respected.