We know that the insurance industry struggles to recruit vibrant new youngsters. It’s very difficult to shake the perception of insurance as dead boring. It doesn’t help that we live in uncertain times, politically and economically. No one really knows what Brexit will do to the economy (and insurance), or what Trump will do to the world. All this uncertainty has had an obvious impact on recruitment in the insurance industry, but it’s not all doom and gloom.
There are some innovative changes and initiatives designed to show youth that insurance is actually dynamic with opportunities for every field of interest. And, there are some brilliant young minds who are revolutionising the industry with new ideas and modern business methods.
Let’s look at some reasons to be optimistic
There are those who believe Brexit will give the UK insurance industry a chance to mimic Switzerland’s success once it’s free of EU regulations. If we can find a formula that allows us to grow our own strength, a la Zurich and Swiss Re, recruitment could go through the roof.
Insurers on the ball don’t have to wait for opportunities, they make their own. For example, Amechi Peirce-Howe refers to AIG, which launched Brexit insurance almost immediately after the referendum results were announced. Now there a few insurance providers that offer the product, which essentially protects businesses against unfavourable consequences from border changes.
Peirce-Howe also says that insurers who embrace technology, such AXA’s on-demand insurance product, will have an edge over those who prefer to keep their head in the sand.
Educate educate educate … in a fun way
The US is in the same boat when it comes to attracting new blood, so leading insurers from both countries started the Insurance Careers Movement. On 2 December, the insurers hosted a webinar to encourage youngsters already in the industry to support the movement. Over 1000 young professionals from the US, Canada, Bermuda, and the UK participated. The movement aims to raise awareness of the diverse career opportunities in the industry, from IT development and law to marketing and data science.
As one of the leaders participating in the movement said, “The more minds, representing the greatest possible set of viewpoints, the more likely the chance for the next great innovation …”
This optimism is shared by Argo Group president and CEO Mark Watson III, who said, “If you’re the kind of person that’s really thoughtful, creative, innovative, likes to different (sic) things every day, and is up for a challenge, you couldn’t pick a better place to be than the insurance business around the world right now.”
Movers and shakers
One of the best ways to attract hot young talent is to have a hot young talent make headlines. Enter broker Jake Hickinbottom, voted one of Insurance Business UK’s Young Guns of the year. During his five years in the industry, Hickinbottom has developed new products (cryptocurrency cold storage insurance) and launched his own initiative, Next Generation Insurance Network (NGIN), to attract youngsters to the industry and to empower and support young professionals new to insurance.
For those who are worried that insurance is boring, Hickinbottom is keen to point out that no day is ever the same. This is largely thanks to his innovative approach and his belief that innovation is critical to ensure the UK remains competitive globally. His message to anyone interested in entering the industry is to never stop challenging the status quo. That way youngsters (anyone really) can not only make their mark and establish their professional credentials, but they can also make a big difference to the industry as a whole.
As Hickinbottom says, “Now is a great time for young professionals to join the industry, as there is a big push to listen to new ideas and challenge the status quo.”
So there you have it: the industry is poised for growth, all it needs are brokers and other professionals across the board to put on their thinking caps, embrace technology, and push boundaries.