The need to recruit bright new talent into the E&S industryis widely accepted as a challenge that is likely to grow if notaddressed proactively. The questions of how to not only recruit andtrain the next generation of leaders, but also how to maximizetheir potential within an organization, are mounting concerns formany firms. NAPSLO is working to address this need for members inseveral ways.

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NAPSLO's Career Awareness and Internship committees lead thecharge in reaching out to prospective students around the countryabout careers in E&S and recruiting them to NAPSLO summerinternships where they can learn about different career pathswithin the industry.

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According to Mike Miller, co-chair of the current CareerAwareness and Internship Committee, and President/CEO of ScottsdaleInsurance Co., NAPSLO's Career Awareness outreach this year hasexpanded. “Our volunteers have visited nearly 40 different collegecampuses in the past 18 months, and last year we talked with almost3,000 students about careers in E&S,” Miller said. “There is somuch opportunity in this industry, but we have to keep talking withstudents about those opportunities, and impress upon them that thisis really a great industry in which to work. We have a lot ofveteran professionals in our midst who are concerned about apotential talent gap. This is a great way that NAPSLO reaches outto bright young people.”

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Miller said that the college presentations make students awareof career opportunities in different facets of the industry, andthat utilizing the energy of NAPSLO's Next Generation members tospeak at their alma maters or visit schools near their currenthomes is particularly effective. “Students like to hear from youngpeople about what it's really like to work in the field, and theyappreciate the energy and honesty that they bring to theconversation,” he said. “This program is so effective in raisingawareness because of the time that our many volunteers are willingto commit to it.”

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As a next step in educating and recruiting students to thesurplus lines industry, NAPSLO also hosts a nine-week summerinternship program for college students with interest in working inE&S. This year, 16 NAPSLO interns each spent five weeks with aNAPSLO member surplus lines insurance company and four weeks with aNAPSLO member wholesale brokerage firm. Bob Greenebaum, NAPSLOCareer Awareness & Internship Committee Co-Chair, and ExecutiveVice President, Swett & Crawford, said that the program issuccessful, and sought-after by applicants, because of the breadthof experience it offers students.

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“Earning a NAPSLO internship is very competitive. This is anexclusive opportunity and we select the best of the best toparticipate,” Greenebaum said. “This program is great for thestudents because they get to work alongside company and brokermentors, but it's also great for our members because they get anopportunity to bring this young talent into their firms. These arestudents who want to pursue careers with us and this program isterrific for talent recruitment.”

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Internship-word-cloud-crop-shutterstock_253575037-Tupungato

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(Photo: Shutterstock/Tupungato)

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New orientation program in 2015

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This year's interns participated in a new orientation program inearly-June at the NAPSLO office. The two-day program provided theman opportunity to meet one another, gain some basic understandingabout E&S and also hear about what soft skills are important ina successful internship. “We think that this orientation program isvaluable for the students so we can better prepare them to get towork and be assets to their host firm's teams more immediately,”Greenebaum said. “We received favorable feedback from students andthe host companies.”

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Ten NAPSLO summer interns were invited to attend the NAPSLOAnnual Convention this week. Those interns are selected based onperformance reviews from their host companies and brokers and on anessay written by the students about their summer experience andtheir goals. Based on interviews with members of the CareerAwareness & Internship Committee, two interns will be selectedas the J.H. Blades Scholar and Bermuda Scholar and will travel toLondon or Bermuda for three weeks in 2016 to learn more about thoseunique markets.

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Miller said that since the program's inception in 1981, it hassponsored more than 265 interns and more than 50 percent of theformer interns are currently working in the industry, with manyemployed by NAPSLO member firms.

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Derek Hughes/NAPSLO Educational Foundation scholarshipprogram

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The Derek Hughes/NAPSLO Educational Foundation's scholarshipprogram also plays an important role in NAPSLO's career awarenessinitiative. Brady Kelley, NAPSLO Executive Director and FoundationTreasurer, said that the Foundation selected 14 students to receive$5,000 scholarships for the 2015–2016 school year. “Thatscholarship is a nice investment in the future of that student andin our industry,” Kelley said. “It is a nice complement to theother career awareness activities that are undertaken by our NextGeneration members and Career Awareness and Internship committeemembers, and really brings the recruitment goals full circle.”

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The Foundation participates in two symposiums annually, TheExcess & Surplus Lines Symposium hosted by Troy University, andthe Extreme Risk Takers Symposium presented by Illinois StateUniversity, where students can learn more about careers in surpluslines and employers can connect with those students. The Foundationalso supports Gamma Iota Sigma and its annual InternationalConference. All of these outreach opportunities provide NAPSLOmembers with access to talent they can recruit into successfulcareers in the E&S industry.

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In the coming year, NAPSLO will enhance its committee structureto more effectively allocate the work among the growing number ofcommitted member volunteers who make all of these initiativespossible. “The work of the Career Awareness and InternshipCommittee will be moved into two separate committees movingforward,” Kelley said. “By dividing this committee into two, theInternship Committee and the Career Development & NextGeneration Committee, we think that we will allow both groups tobetter pursue their independent, yet coordinated, objectives moreefficiently.”

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The newly formed Career Development & Next GenerationCommittee will provide a forum to build on efforts to attract newtalent to the industry and enhance coordination with the DerekHughes/NAPSLO Educational Foundation on shared objectives.

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According to Kelley, the NAPSLO Board also recently announcedthe formation of a Next Generation Leadership Council within theCareer Development & Next Generation Committee. “The boardbelieves that by incorporating Next Generation formally into theNAPSLO Committee framework, the refocused structure will replacethe current and separate Next Generation committee structure andintegrate Next Generation members into the NAPSLO committees sothat they become a direct and valuable part of the Association'swork,” Kelley said.

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“NAPSLO is working hard to help members do an even better job ofattracting smart, new talent to our industry,” Greenebaum said.“There's a great deal of opportunity. We just need to make sure wehave the people in place to fill the pipeline.”

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