Written by Emily Kauls, Underwriter, AXIS Capital
Millennials are coming of age and will soon make up the majority of the workforce population. According to the Old Republic Risk Management Blog, “Millennials are estimated to comprise 75% of the entire workforce population by 2025. Yet the lack of millennials entering the insurance industry is alarming – only 28% of the industry’s workforces are millennials. With the average age of insurance employees at 59, the widening age gap in our industry continues to be an issue and without figuring out how to attract these younger workers, this issue will only grow.”
Many companies have already started to adopt policies and procedures to adapt to what millennials expect from their employer. A new standard of work-life balance has been established, particularly accelerated by Silicon Valley and the ever-growing number of startups who are adopting innovative programs to attract young talent.
Generally, millennials strive for a different career trajectory than past generations. They want to be uniquely challenged and exposed to a diverse set of problems and expect to have a dynamic day-to-day work culture with visible opportunities for growth. Unfortunately, many young people are not aware that a job in insurance can provide all of these things – as well as be an interesting and financial rewarding career path.
What can we do to change this?
Getting to Work
Earlier this year the Future PLUS Leadership Committee tapped 15 Future PLUS members to form a task force and brainstorm ways PLUS can help address this shortage and educate the future generation about professional liability insurance as a potential career path. These professionals share in common a passion for finding industrywide solutions to address this important issue.
A Story-telling Problem
The task force started by identifying that there is a “story telling problem” in insurance, including in professional lines: we need to define what our profession really is to people not familiar with the industry. PLUS is uniquely positioned as a neutral industry partner to get this message out and help communicate the benefits of working in this industry. PLUS can also help retain these younger employees in the industry for the long term by continuing to provide opportunities to advance their professional development through mentors, seminars, networking and certification programs.
When asked about why this messaging is so important, task force co-leader Martha Manriquez, Senior Claim Representative with Great American Insurance Group, said, “I want others to enjoy their job and to be just as interested in insurance as I am. The concept of insurance is not going away; it is only going to grow and adapt to the ever-changing world. We need young, energetic, motivated individuals to come in and not only learn about the core concepts of the industry, but also look at a task that perhaps has been done the same way for X amount of years and see if they can make it better.”
Increasing Awareness of Our Profession and Producing Industry Research
In addition to telling the story of our profession, the task force is simultaneously working on several other related items, namely:
- A “Now you’re here, what’s next?” one-pager for companies to pass out to their new hires that will allow them to quickly connect to PLUS;
- Some type of an “increasing awareness of the profession” platform that will educate and encourage risk management majors and young professionals already in the insurance business to choose professional lines as a career; and
- Research and analytics options that would help scope out the extent of the workforce shortage issue in professional lines including what will attract future generations, and the skills young professionals will need to prosper in this business in the future.
Suffice it to say it is an exciting time to be involved as a volunteer at PLUS, especially for young professionals (Future PLUS). As task force co-leader Ayesha West, U.S. Retail Cyber & Technology with Navigators, put it, “With the upcoming generational talent gap, Future PLUS is not only more relevant than it has ever been, it is also one of the most vibrant subsections of the organization with a thriving talent pool that will problem solve and ensure the organization’s survival for the foreseeable future.”
About Future PLUS
Future PLUS is a group comprised of young industry professionals, for PLUS members aged 35 or younger. 2018 projects include a Career Advancement Webinar Series devoted to growing soft skills and strategies for addressing the workforce shortage issue.
Future PLUS Workforce Shortage Task Force Volunteers
- Gary Alaka, Underwriter II, Philadelphia Insurance Companies
- Angie Biancalana, RPLU, Financial Products Underwriter II, Great American Insurance Group
- Rose Bragg, Client Services Associate, Gallagher
- Jordan Cassidy, Senior Underwriter, Philadelphia Insurance Companies
- Priscille Chavanne, RPLU, ARM, Underwriting Manager – Management & Professional Liability, Philadelphia Insurance Companies
- Matthew Culkin, Professional Liability Broker, PL Risk Advisors, Inc.
- Carrie Hogan, RPLU, Underwriter, Great American Insurance Group
- Emily Kauls, Underwriter, Axis Insurance
- Kaelin Kobell, Regional Director, Cincinnati Insurance Companies
- Chris Lavelle, EPL Product Leader/Underwriter, United States Liability Insurance Group
- Robert Lehnert, Senior Underwriter, Couch Braunsdorf Insurance Group
- Martha Manriquez, Senior Claim Representative, Great American Insurance Group
- Andrew Russick, Underwriter, Arch Insurance Group
- Jeff Torres, Management Liability Underwriter, The Hanover Insurance Group
- Ayesha West, U.S. Retail Cyber & Technology, Navigators