Is Your Company at Risk in The War on Talent?

Is Your Company at Risk in The War on Talent?

By Jeff Gipson | February 16, 2017

We recently shared an interesting look at “Insurance: The War for Talent” on our Employers page, and we thought it was important enough for a deeper dive. This blog post will look at some of the chief points and concerns it addresses, plus how you can see if your company is getting caught up in this war.

So, let’s get started with the meat of the issue: there’s going to be a vacuum for middle managers, and they aren’t positions the industry can afford to leave unfilled.

Problem 1: Industry Turnover Could Exceed 50% over 10 Years

A large majority of the insurance industry workforce is nearing retirement — and many professionals are working past the “traditional” retirement age. This means a large portion of industry knowledge rests within people who are preparing to leave.

It also, unfortunately, means that many mid-level career professionals have left the insurance industry because they had little room for advancement. As other industries, from financial services to large enterprises, begun to seek out the same skills as insurance professionals, these mid-level managers had opportunities that lured them away from the insurance market.

That leaves most carriers facing a knowledge gap when more than half of their senior talent leaves in the next 10 to 15 years, says Larry Pistell, Senior Associate Director of Corporate and Industry Relations at the Center for Professional Education at St. John’s University’s School of Risk Management, Insurance, and Actuarial Science(SRM).

Problem 2: Carrier Decisions Typically Involve Millions of Dollars and Need Smart Data

Leadership at today’s carriers consistently make decisions that involve multi-million dollar limits and sums insured. Working across an enterprise can quickly scale, so their work can quickly put you at risk if the information your leadership is working with has flaws or is not properly maintained.

The information that is used to create baselines, understand trends, monitor the market, and plan for growth is typically generated at the mid-manager level. They know local and regional markets and can drill down to understand success rates and product demands, filtering the most important information and sending it up the flagpole.

This worry is actually two-fold.

  1. If you start losing these employees or are forced to fill management roles with individuals who don’t understand how to look at the market, your leadership runs the risk of making a mistake by relying on improper information. Trend analysis will be skewed and may cause an improper focus. The good news is that there are multiple avenues to review and check this data so that the risk can be mitigated.
  2. What’s perhaps more important is when you are a victim of the “War on Talent” and lose people who are vital to your departments, even if not in leadership. Those with 15 to 25 years of experience who have seen trends come and go, or understand the data because of their experience, may know how to properly present information and what’s relevant to collect. Filling gaps with whomever you can find means you run the risk of skills gaps that create improper data and knowledge at the bottom levels, creating cracks in the foundation that can eventually reach all the way to the top.

Or, as Pistell puts it: “Those working for insurance enterprises need considerable knowledge/skill if they are to avoid costly errors.”

Problem 3: The Talent Pipeline Is Small

The “War for Talent” authors note that there are fewer than 40 formal, full-time training programs at U.S. universities and colleges that specialize in risk management and actuarial science for the insurance professional.

These programs also tend to be small, with about 3,500 students each year. That’s a significant concern when you think of the thousands of baby boomers expected to still be working but ready to retire in the coming years.

Unfortunately, you can’t march into your local college and demand that it teaches and trains more students and then guarantee that they’ll stick around to work for you if and when your set of positions open up. These students are going to be in demand and will likely be snapped up shortly after graduation — some may even have jobs waiting for them already after having proven themselves as a summer or winter intern.

Pair that with the growing number of competitors to carriers, such as independent agents and brokers squeezing into your space, and you’re looking at a gap that will become more difficult to fill each day on your own.

Solution: Working with a Top Recruiter

Every company needs a game plan to succeed in the future, but the most successful plans will break from today’s established hiring practices. Changes are already underway, and it’s not time to react, it’s time to create a proactive solution.

Working with a top talent recruiter has already proven to be the best path for creating that proactive effort for large insurance carriers. The “War on Talent” is an important concern and answering its problems gets significantly easier when you find an ally who already knows how to solve what you’re facing.

Solving Problem 1

Losing 50% of an industry can be catastrophic when you only work internally. If you only know how to target employees already within a carrier infrastructure, then you risk competition for a small pool and losing out on all of your opportunities.

Recruiters can identify talent that will be outside of this retirement boom and are in the middle of their career. We pay personal attention to your company’s needs as well as understand the needs of potential hires so that we can help you articulate your value.

That allows you to target people who won’t be leaving the workforce soon and are a fit for your needs and values.

Solving Problem 2

By 2025, 75% of the workforce will be millennials. Carriers who are becoming leaders are already starting to adopt a millennial workforce. And, that’s great news.

Millennials tend to rely more on technology and have a better understanding of data, but they do need more direct interaction and intervention to work with larger corporations. A recruiter can help you address this demographic that has the data understanding you need to properly prepare for multi-million-dollar business decisions because we know their habits and desires.

We’ll work with them to see your value and help you understand the skills they have when they rise above their peers.

Solving Problem 3

Increases in competition mean you need to be more strategic about your hires. That includes looking for professionals who have the skills you desire but are in different areas, or targeting people who may not be the traditional job seeker.

Recruiters can look within your competitors for someone who has the skills you need, plus we see many professionals who shift industries and find success within the insurance industry.. We know where to look for the skills you need and are always searching.

So, you get the people you need who might be outside of the traditional pipeline, plus — moving back to solutions 1 and 2 — are looking for long-term companies and understand the information that’s important to your business.

To watch this video in entirety visit

When you’re ready to understand and start solving the problems that face insurance carriers, by developing a proactive solution to ensuring talent pipeline, contact The James Allen Companies, Inc. or call me directly at (573) 334-3688.

About the Author

Jeff Gipson
Contact Us

Landing Page Form

Share our blog with others