Members of WSIA’s Career Development Committee know that the need to recruit new talent into the E&S industry is a mounting concern for many WSIA members, and they are focused on work to address that challenge.
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Committee members engage in a variety of tactics to reach students and inform them about career opportunities, specifically in the E&S sector. A primary approach is to target schools with Risk Management and Insurance majors or concentrations and to conduct outreach with those students. That outreach is achieved through on-campus presentations, electronic communications, engaging students at career fairs and by offering potential internships and scholarships.
Outreach continues to expand
Davis Moore, co-chair of the Career Development Committee and President/CEO of Worldwide Facilities LLC, said that WSIA’s career-development outreach continues to expand. “During spring 2017, committee members and member volunteers delivered 24 presentations or events reaching more than 1,200 students at 32 schools,” he noted. “That kind of reach is really important for the perpetuation of our industry. We know that member-driven, individual contact is impactful for students and it allows them to ask questions and fully consider the variety of great paths and opportunities available in the wholesale, specialty and surplus lines industry when we can talk to them in classroom and career fair settings.”
Bryan Sanders, Career Development Committee Co-Chair and President of Markel Wholesale, said the committee will continue to use this member-driven approach this fall. Committee members each have a list of assigned schools at which they will connect with students in a variety of ways, including in-person presentations. Those college presentations increase students’ awareness of career opportunities in different facets of the industry, Sanders added, and utilizing the energy of WSIA’s U40 members to speak at their alma maters or visit schools near their current homes is particularly effective. “Students like to hear about what it’s like to work in the field from recent graduates, and they appreciate the energy and honesty that dynamic brings to the conversation,” said Sanders. “This program is so effective in raising awareness because of the time that so many volunteers are willing to commit.”
Other committee goals for enhancing career development work include leveraging a speaker bureau subgroup that will enhance WSIA’s ability to present on campuses, as well as a case studies subgroup that will develop a set of special case studies during campus presentations to better engage students and provide insight into specific skills and types of candidates that are needed in the industry.
The Derek Hughes/NAPSLO Educational Foundation’s scholarship program also plays an important role in WSIA’s career development initiative. Brady Kelley, WSIA Executive Director and Foundation Treasurer, said that the Foundation selected 15 students to receive $5,000 scholarships for the 2017-2018 school year: “The scholarship program is a great complement to the other career development initiatives that happen throughout the year. They’re an investment in the future of not only that student but also in the industry. It’s a nice way to help bring our outreach goals full circle.”
The Career Development Committee also continues to align its efforts with the Foundation in its symposium participation. The Foundation participates in two symposiums annually, the Excess & Surplus Lines Symposium hosted by Troy University, and the Extreme Risk Takers Symposium presented by Illinois State University, where students can learn more about careers in surplus lines and employers can connect with young prospects. New in 2018 will also be the Wholesale and Specialty Symposium, hosted by Arizona State University.
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The Foundation also supports Gamma Iota Sigma and its annual International Conference. These outreach opportunities create access to talent for WSIA members who participate in the career fair components where they can recruit students to careers in the E&S industry.
“We are very focused on how to facilitate and enhance the work that WSIA members currently undertake to attract new talent to our industry,” Moore added. “There’s really a huge amount of opportunity and those of us who work in this space know that it can be a really rewarding career. We want to make sure that we have the best and brightest in place to help fill the pipeline.”