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Innovative Training Avoids ‘Brain Drain’

While conducting a program at a large branch office of a regional insurance company last spring, I learned that 20 percent of the branch underwriting staff would be retiring by the end of the year.

The soon-to-be retirees were buzzing in anticipation of their new ventures, while the company managers were busily working to hire people to fill the vacant positions. All I could think about was the 200-plus years of knowledge and business experience walking out the door. How could it ever be replaced? The information in the mental computer banks of workers is not easily transferred or duplicated.

When these underwriters, claim adjusters, loss control professionals and auditors started in the business in the 1960s and 1970s, insurers were also in the training business. Most of the major carriers offered technical employees three-to-12-month formal training programs using both on-the-job learning and structured home-office-classroom instruction. Additionally, advanced topics were offered to keep experienced professionals current and sharp.

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