The Evolving Insurance Workforce: Planning for the Future to Sustain Our Legacy

 
Written by Connie D. O'Mara, Owner, O'Mara Consulting, LLC
connie@cdomaraconsulting.com

 

Ursula Merten (PwC) teamed up with Fred Gindraux (SVP of P&C Casualty Business, Swiss Re America), David McAndrews (Director of National Accounts, p1 Runoff), and Barbara Murray (PwC) to describe and analyze the talent and knowledge management challenges facing our business. 

 

While the general unemployment rate in the U.S. is around 4.4%, the rate is only 2.31% in the insurance industry.  Another salient feature of our workforce is that people are retiring later, so that the average age of our employees is going up and we have four generations working together.  The average age of Insurance Agents is 59, while the average age of Underwriters is 56, and the average age of Claims Handlers is 54.  Constant technology innovation means that our current workforce must continue to adapt to new ways of managing data while maintaining the brain trust of the past. 

 

The panel opined that industry leadership needs to demonstrate a culture that values both historical knowledge and experience as well as the ability to mentor newer staff, while still nurturing an innovative and challenging mindset for newer employees.  Newer, tech-savvy staff can be used to “reverse mentor” those employees who need to adapt to evolving information management strategy.  

 

What does the future look like?  The “Sharing Economy” is projected to develop a “sharing” mindset as to staff and 20% of the work force will be contract employees by 2022.  While the business tools may change over time, companies need to hire people who have “people skills” and can manage others, including customers, effectively, and who have a “growth” mindset so that they are open to new challenges, regardless of age.