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Although Benjamin Franklin thought that the Constitution was going to survive the test of time, he was only supremely confident about the inevitability of death and taxes. Calvin, Bill Watterson’s six-year-old Calvin & Hobbes comic-strip character, decided that even though he was uncertain about many things, he knew that he would forever have a disdain for writhing maggots, cold seaweed wrapping around his legs, and “anything popular in the ’70s.” Perhaps you can relate, as those of us in risk management and claim professions understand that the list of life’s certainties is a short one.

It was probably the extent that the current “Great Recession” hit our particular sector of the industry that caught so many of us off guard. The U.S. unemployment rate of approximately 10 percent was definitely more than almost anyone expected, but the whopping 14-percent loss in P&C claim positions was a definitive shock. We have personally learned afresh that even the biggest insurers are not “too big to fail,” and that a really good employee can still lose a job. Subjective flaws in risk analysis have led people to worry about strange things. Thus, insurance policies have been purchased for alien abduction/impregnation, Immaculate Conception, and death from poltergeists. (I’m not kidding.) In regard to recent concerns about employment security, however, our fears have largely been on solid ground.

Reducing Your Chances

Fortunately, an objective analysis provides some good reasons to hope. The recession has officially ended, according to most economists. Most P&C insurers are well capitalized and should be ready to grow when the hard market returns (many project in 2011). The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics is expecting a seven-percent increase in the category of “claim adjusters, appraisers, examiners, and investigators” between 2008 and 2018. Although a seven-percent increase on the heels of a 14-percent decrease may not sound too promising by itself, the aging adjuster population so frequently noted in recent industry news suggests that qualified candidates will have a brighter future.

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