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February is Insurance Careers Month. Let's Celebrate!

Bill Sinn | February 14, 2019

"Me, work in insurance? That's got to be the most boring job."

"There's no way you could get me to work for an insurance company."

"The last thing I want to be is an insurance agent."

Let's face it - insurance is not the dream job on the minds of most young people who are graduating from high school or college today. But while the insurance industry continues to face an image challenge, the fact is that insurance careers span an incredible range of skills and talents—from actuaries and underwriters to data scientists and risk management professionals to solution architects and engineers. Insurance is a major underpinning of our global economy. 

The U.S. insurance industry employed 2.6 million people in 2016, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Of those, 1.5 million worked for insurance companies, including life and health insurers (811,900 workers), P/C insurers (648,200 workers) and reinsurers (25,000 workers). The remaining 1.1 million people worked for insurance agencies, brokers and other insurance-related enterprises. Those numbers account for about 27 percent of the workforce in the U.S. financial activities sector.

That's good news!

The bad news is the industry "talent gap". Recent estimates suggest up to 40% of the aging workforce will be retiring over the next decade, including most senior, experienced and high-skilled staff. This puts a huge burden on key areas such as underwriting and claims and IT. And there are currently not enough highly skilled younger people -- especially millenials -- to take the place of outgoing senior managers. (Note: the ITA LIVE 2019 conference will be hosting a panel session titled  "The Next Generation of Leadership". Led by Alex Farrell of Union Mutual of Vermont Companies, this panel of millennial executives will discuss their perspective on the industry, their experience, as well as their leadership opportunities. Register at ITA LIVE 2019.)

This can all change. The great news is that there are a variety of jobs, and lots of room to grow -- and excel. There aren’t many industries that offer such a wide array of opportunities in areas like sales, marketing, IT, actuarial, claims or underwriting. Insurance offers stability, challenge and growth to those who choose the profession.

Starting this month, the ITA celebrates Insurance Careers Month and encourages carriers, brokers, agents and our industry associations to plan their own outreach to young people to help spread awareness of the diverse career options that insurance offers. Those of us in the industry know just how rewarding a career insurance can be. It's time for all of us to help spread the word. Consider joining the conversation at http://insurancecareerstrifecta.org

Editor's Note: the second quote listed above can be attributed to me when I was just getting out of college. My father worked in the industry for 44 years and tried to convince me of the merits of an insurance career -- but who listens to their parents anyway? Five years after leaving college, I joined the same company my father worked for his whole career (he had retired just two years before). It was the start of an amazing journey, and I haven't looked back. Thanks Dad for thinking of me...:)

 


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