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Think the future of insurance lies exclusively in hiring young people? Think again. With baby boomers headed toward the exits in record numbers, the insurance industry desperately needs to retain institutional knowledge. That’s what Sharon Emek figured out when she founded WAHVE–Work at Home Vintage Employees LLC–a service that connects retired insurance professionals with companies needing contract workers.

As the managing director of CBS Coverage Group in New York City and former chair of IIABA New York, Emek kept hearing from members about the problems they had in finding talented people for all agency positions. Concurrently, she was speaking to older women business owners on how to develop an exit strategy when it was time to think about retirement. And her involvement on the ACT board also made her knowledgeable about the tech side of the industry and how VOIP, Skype and other methods enable successful remote work. When the recession hit and everyone’s retirement plan took a hit, “one morning I woke up and everything converged,” she said. The idea was to get seasoned, retired insurance workers back into the picture by recruiting them to work remotely for employers.

Emek launched WAHVE in April 2010. To jump-start the business with a pipeline of qualified workers, she worked with the National Alliance, which put together a survey and sent it to its database of 59,000 baby boomer-and-older members. The survey got a response of more than 3,000, 1,600 of which wanted more information on WAHVE.

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