The insurance industry continues to see decreasing unemployment rates and growing job opportunities six months since the start of the COVID-19 global health crisis.
According to the September edition of PULSE from The Jacobson Group, the insurance industry is down 1,900 jobs compared to pre-pandemic numbers in February 2020 and employs 13,300 more individuals in August 2020 than in August 2019. A month earlier, in July 2020, the industry employed 17,000 more individuals year-over-year (YOY).
Jacobson expects the positive momentum to continue in the industry, as insurance companies stabilize from the early shock of economic hardship. The most recent job data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate an overall health property & casualty job market in July:
- Employment in the property and casualty sector increased YOY by 1%, and weekly wages increased YOY by 4.6%.
- Employment of agents and brokers increased YOY by 0.7%, and weekly wages increased YOY by 4.9%.
- Employment in TPAs decreased YOY by 2.1%, and weekly wages increased YOY by 6.5%.
- Employment in reinsurance decreased YOY by 7%, and weekly wages increased YOY by 17.4%.
- Employment in claims decreased YOY by 5.1%, and weekly wages increased YOY by 2.9%.
Despite strengthening job numbers across areas of the business, the unemployment rate for insurance carriers and related businesses continues to rise. Insurance unemployment has increased from 3.6% in May to 4.8% in July — a stark difference from the pre-pandemic unemployment rate of 1% in February.
On a positive note, property & casualty industry wages are up across the board, possibly due to fewer retirements and a decrease in positions with lower salaries, Jacobson says.
Labor market outlook
The Jacobson Group and Aon partner semi-annually to conduct an insurance outlook study. Their findings in the third quarter of 2020 reveal companies’ commitment to growing their workforces. Forty-eight percent of insurance companies plan to increase staff during the next 12 months compared to 17% of companies planning to decrease the number of employees, which is up from 8% in January 2020, says the study.
The study also found that companies seek to hire in understaffed areas of the business in anticipation of increased business volume within the next year.
“The insurance industry has proven relatively stable in comparison to the overall economy and insurers continue to compete for top talent,” said Gregory P. Jacobson, co-chief executive officer of Jacobson, in the study report. “Recruiting difficulty has not eased during the pandemic and has even increased slightly for most insurance functions. Though employment will continue to grow in the next 12 months, it will be at a significantly slower pace.”