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Today is National Insurance Awareness Day, an opportunity to celebrate our unique and important industry. To outsiders, insurance is often boiled down to familiar terms – premium, coverage, policy, risk, claim. After working in the industry for nearly four decades, I know that it’s the people behind the policies that make the insurance industry so remarkable. Risk Strategies is known for our deep well of expertise, and we know that without supporting the next generation of insurance professionals, that well will dry up.
Earlier in June we welcomed our newest group of interns to the Risk Strategies family as part of a ten-week paid program. When asked if we should consider continuing the program this year in light of the pandemic, I didn’t hesitate to say absolutely. I started my insurance journey as an intern in 1986 and it launched my career, and I know that the continued strength of the insurance industry depends on programs like this one.
A career in insurance allows for the coveted opportunity of making an impact in the lives of others. As our industry undergoes rapid transformation, I am energized by the ingenuity and adaptation I have seen, and I am confident that in the hands of these future leaders, industry growth and global impact is guaranteed
For years, I have been predicting a technological shift in the insurance business. As staunchly traditional or “old school” as our industry is often perceived to be, it seemed clear that the digital transformation seen in other sectors would soon surface in insurance. COVID-19 accelerated the inevitable. In March 2020, we had to take 2,000+ employees from working in an office to operating fully remotely in six days. Thousands of other companies did the same. Today, we are rolling out new systems that will support long-term remote work, moving much of our operations online. 95% of companies in the insurance industry surveyed shared that they are shifting expectations around employee schedules, hours, and locations when physical offices reopen, with 56% planning to offer full-time remote work moving forward.
This presents an exciting opportunity to reassess long held roles and traditions and attract a younger cohort of digital natives to innovate new approaches. Insurance jobs that were staples when I first started in the industry have been phased out, replaced by more efficient and effective digital solutions. Tech-based insurance jobs are becoming much more common, signaling an invigorating, necessary changing of the guard. Now is the perfect time for young people to pursue a fruitful career in insurance.
Growth and Opportunity
While other industries experienced a hiring freeze or painful layoffs during the pandemic, the insurance industry demonstrated its resilience and continued to grow. Insurers added 20,000 jobs between March 2020 and February 2021. All indicators predict that hiring will not slow in 2021. 56% of insurers surveyed said they expect to increase staffing levels this year, and two-thirds expect revenue growth.
Insurance is one of the rare industries that is essential to every other industry, giving professionals the opportunity to pursue careers that align with their specific passions while still working under the insurance umbrella. We have people working in film and TV, fine arts, private equity, aviation, transportation, health care... the list goes on.
Additionally, with modernization and insurtech platforms on the rise, the insurance jobs in the highest demand are roles in technology and analytics, with a focus on automation and AI. Insurers are now finding themselves competing for technical talent with the likes of Google and Facebook.
In order to remain competitive, insurance companies and brokers alike are focused on providing attractive employee compensation and being a desirable career destination. In today’s world, what matters is a positive company culture, ample professional development and growth opportunities, corporate responsibility and philanthropic community support programs that really matter, and having an honest and transparent commitment to diversity and inclusion.
The Evolving World Needs Insurance
Our world is rapidly evolving, and so is how everyone looks at insurance. In a post-COVID landscape, all businesses, our clients among them, are evaluating not just their risk management programs but their tolerance to risk, their supply chain exposures, contingencies, and resilience. More than ever, these people need the expertise and advisors that understand enterprise risk management and can see all the risks from all angles, and design the right solutions that provide the industry-specific coverage their businesses need.
Insurance is frequently viewed as a necessary evil. That kind of thinking is both regrettable and a bit myopic. There is hardly an investment or technological advance that would have been launched or achieved without insurance as a backstop. The insurance industry helps communities and families rebuild after disasters, supports business growth through product innovation and geographic expansion, and helps people fulfill their aspirations on a global basis every single day. This Insurance Awareness Day, I hope to increase recognition of the far-reaching impact and value of the insurance industry. As a company and as professionals we work every day to serve our clients and find crucial solutions. The young people entering the industry, including those participating in our internship program, will push us into a vital new era of insurance innovation. Stay tuned.