A long-term informational campaign launched by leading insurance education groups to raise awareness about careers in the industry is a good start towards recruiting more young talent into a business starved for new blood.
Three years ago in this space, I wondered what the insurance industry might do to overcome a generally poor reputation, a scattering of resources, and the lack of a unified message to recruit more high school, college, and graduate school students. The collaborative outreach effort known as “MyPath” might be just what the doctor ordered.
The program is the culmination of an initiative put in play back in September 2011 by The Griffith Insurance Education Foundation, which hosted a Summit that drew over 100 representatives from insurance companies, brokerages, associations, universities, and affiliated entities (including yours truly from Deloitte, which was one of the Summit’s sponsors and is represented on the foundation’s board).
Also on hand at the Summit were an impressive collection of insurance and risk management students that gave me hope for the future. Still, I realized the industry needed to infuse many more such talented individuals into its ranks to replace an expected jump in the number of retirements over the next decade, as well as to up their game with fresh ideas and relevant skills.
As I noted in my blog from that Summit, the goal was to identify obstacles making it difficult for insurers and brokers to attract the best and the brightest graduates (recapped above in my second paragraph), as well as to consider how such barriers might be surmounted.
It took some time to do the necessary research and spadework to get the main response we came up with off the drawing board — that is, establishing an online hub to provide information about the industry, while promoting the benefits of a career in insurance. Although still a work in progress, that hub — www.InsureMyPath.org — is now a reality.
The site is the brainchild of The Institutes and its affiliates, which includes Griffith, the CPCU Society, and the CPCU-Loman Education Foundation. It is also supported by over 20 industry partners from across the insurance spectrum.
While www.InsureMyPath.org may be a bit skeletal at the moment, it establishes a solid foundation and brand on which the insurance industry can build to recruit young talent and better inform those who influence a student’s career decision.
The website has a section emphasizing the critical role played by the industry in protecting individuals and businesses, as well as in supporting the economy and society as a whole. Looking to connect on a personal level, MyPath points out that “[f]rom aiding a family struggling to rebuild after a disaster to bringing peace of mind to a first-time business owner, insurance is a great way to make a difference in the world.”
The site also makes a compelling, practical case for why one should consider working in the business, noting that “a substantial portion of today’s insurance professionals will retire by 2020, creating a projected 400,000 open positions,” citing U.S. Department of Labor statistics.
A second section focuses on helping people “find your path” into insurance, by outlining a wide variety of specific career roles. Included are titles with skill sets that insurers have been hard put to land, such as data scientists (which the site characterizes as “Master Mathematicians”), actuaries (the “Grand Poo-Bahs of Probability”), business analysts (the “Swamis of Smooth”), and agents/brokers (the “Quarterbacks of Coverage”). The roster includes explanations of the function and characteristics of workers in claims, customer service, human resources, marketing, tech support, risk management, and a number of other positions.
The site offers the ability to search by state for insurance internships, which MyPath notes can often provide an entrée into a fulltime industry job. Indeed, this is a critical component of the industry’s outreach efforts, as research by Griffith found that three out of four companies use internships to recruit entry-level talent.
There’s still much work to be done. The site’s organizers are looking to add partners, content, and capabilities, including career simulations. The more interactive and “fun” the site gets, the better, as the industry looks to shake off its stodgy image. (My personal preference would be a campaign with a tag line, “I live for risk,” showing all the ways insurance industry personnel save lives, property, families, and entire communities from physical disasters and financial ruin.)
To succeed, the industry will have to get the word out about the existence of the program and website. There’s talk of a nationwide, multi-media advertising campaign in the works to alert students and their parents, as well as educators, about the website’s availability and purpose. Considering the difficulties many young people are having these days leveraging their expensive educations into good-paying, satisfying jobs, MyPath’s message about a potential future in insurance may resonate fairly quickly.
At the very least, young people now have a centralized point of contact to learn more about how they might make a living in the insurance industry, as well as what they could do to get their insurance careers started. It provides a common platform to promote the industry’s many individual internship, scholarship, and recruitment efforts.
If you ask a classroom full of grammar school kids to reveal their dream jobs, it’s unlikely many will say they want to be an insurance adjuster, underwriter, or actuary. But as kids grow up into teenagers and young adults, it’s important they at least are made aware of insurance as a viable career option, and potentially a very fulfilling one.
For more information about MyPath, go to http://www.insuremypath.org/contact.
Sam J. Friedman (email@example.com) is the research team leader at Deloitte’s Center for Financial Services in New York. For many years, he was the Editor in Chief of National Underwriter’s P&C edition. Follow Sam on Twitter at @SamOnInsurance, as well as on LinkedIn.