The great resignation, the war for talent, whatever you want to call it, the talent crisis has plagued the insurance industry for years. While baby boomers continue to retire in waves, millennials and younger generations aren’t exactly lining up to fill their spots. This has left a huge talent gap in the insurance space, which carriers and agencies are struggling to fill.
And with the youngest of the baby boomer generation now reaching retirement age, if insurance experts can’t find a solution to this gap soon, they’ll quickly find themselves up the creek without a paddle.
To avoid a grim fate, we’ve outlined three paths carriers and agencies can take to ensure future success as the talent pool shrinks.
Path 1: Put more responsibility on current insurance producers, aka the “mega producer”
One way to approach the insurance industry talent crisis is to simply offload more responsibility onto the producers who still remain. As agents retire out of the industry, they leave behind large books of business. Those who remain may choose to take on these books of business, giving them more clients than usual and resulting in an influx of mega producers.
This path comes with a couple of obvious issues. The main one: It’s not a long-term solution. The average age of an insurance agent in the U.S. is just under 50 and even someone with a title as superhuman sounding as “mega producer” can’t live and work forever. Eventually, these people will retire and you will be right back to square one.
Another downside to this option is the amount of resources your agency will likely have to put into making it work. By putting all of the responsibility onto a handful of producers, you can expect that they’ll want more in return. Your agency better be prepared to offer more favorable compensation benefits to keep everyone happy and willing to work.
Technology helps mega producers manage larger books of business
If you do choose this route and now have a bunch of mega producers who are responsible for more clients than ever, they’re going to need resources to help them out. Automation backed technology solutions can help relieve mega producers of the tedious, repetitive duties that don’t return an investment, helping them manage their large number of clients more efficiently.
Path 2: Open the talent pool to attract younger talent
The insurance talent pool is aging out, what do we do? Hire some younger people, of course. That may seem like the obvious answer but, unfortunately, it’s a lot easier said than done. The truth is, for various reasons, young people just aren’t jumping at the chance to work in insurance. So how do you go about recruiting younger talent when younger generations are reluctant to bite?
There’s no clear answer, but here are a couple of things insurance experts can do to try and attract talent from younger generations.
Offer workplace flexibility and other modern benefits
If one good thing came from the pandemic, it’s the switch organizations made to offer their employees more flexible hours and remote work options. Over a year into the “post” pandemic limbo we now find ourselves in, job seekers rank flexible work arrangements as one of their top three priorities while job hunting.
Insurers who can offer employees more flexibility in their work life will have a better chance of attracting talent. On top of that, candidates are looking for employers who can offer more modern voluntary benefits like child care, mental health resources, and student loan forgiveness. Offering a more comprehensive benefits package could help widen your range of candidates.
Update process and streamline workflows with technology
One of the top, oft-cited reasons for the insurance industry talent crisis is disinterest. That’s really just a nicer way to say that younger generations think insurance is boring. And sure, even we won’t claim insurance to be the most thrilling industry, but a lot of what gives the industry such a bad rep can be remedied by the implementation of modern technology solutions.
Tedious, monotonous, repetitive. These are just a few common definitions of the word boring. If these descriptors match any tasks you’re still requiring your producers to perform, it might be time to consider automation. Upgrading to a more attractive tech stack can help agents get out of spending their time on boring, repetitive tasks and into the more exciting and fulfilling (not to mention revenue-driving) parts of the job – like helping their clients.
Combine personal and professional concerns in core values
Young people care about social change and they want an employer that does too. Millennial and Gen Z job seekers are looking for employment opportunities that align with their personal concerns and passions. Unfortunately, the insurance industry’s conventional reputation may be a large factor in keeping young people from applying.
To appeal to the younger generations, agencies need to develop a workplace culture that appeals to them. Emphasizing core values and prioritizing diversity and inclusion will help show younger talent that the insurance industry can be an exciting, modern place to work that, contrary to popular belief, isn’t still stuck in the past.
Path 3: Transform your talent strategy
If you’re having trouble recruiting talent, it might help to change your overall approach. The third path agencies and carriers can take to address the talent crisis is to transform their entire talent strategy to upskill current employees and better attract new ones. This path combines aspects of paths one and two and also takes a step back to look at talent from a macro perspective.
Let’s break it down, starting with your existing talent. When finding new talent is proving difficult, why not turn to the people you already have? And this time we aren’t talking about just unloading all the extra work on whoever’s still around.
Rather than searching for new people to fill gaps, agencies can enable their back office workers to take on more meaningful roles by removing tedious manual work with the help of automated tech, and then making better use of their existing knowledge by upskilling or reskilling them. By offering more training and skill development opportunities, you can fast track existing employees to excel at these roles instead of spending more time and money recruiting and onboarding new talent.
Plus, by giving entry-level workers more opportunities for advancement, you can kick the notion many millennials and Gen Zers have about there being a lack of career-growing opportunities in the industry.
Speaking of attracting new talent, that’s the second big piece of this path and we’ve already told you a few ways you can achieve it. What it all boils down to is reshaping the way younger generations view the insurance industry. Leveraging technology, offering flexible work options and comprehensive benefits, and proving your agency has a diverse and inclusive workplace culture are all vital to attracting and retaining new talent.
Bridging the insurance talent gap requires action
The talent crisis is happening now whether insurance experts are ready for it or not. If one thing is for sure, it’s that hiring isn’t going to get any easier if nothing changes. The best thing you can do to ensure the future success of your insurance business is to take action now to get ahead of the problem.
While we aren’t here to tell you what path is best for your agency, carrier, or MGA, we are here to help when it comes to making your employee’s lives easier with technology. AgentSync’s solution can help you compete on talent with smoother, more efficient producer onboarding, licensing, renewals, and appointments. See AgentSync in action today.